ISTOCK, HENRIK5000Two patients in northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have tested positive for Ebola virus, the head of the country’s national institute for biological research and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today (May 8). This is the ninth Ebola outbreak in the DRC since the disease was discovered in that country in the 1970s, Reuters reports.
Ebola virus, which is believed to be spread by bats, tore through several West African countries from 2014-2016, killing more than 11,000 people. That outbreak did not reach the DRC, but eight cases of Ebola were detected in that country last year, and four people died from the virus. In today’s announcement, the WHO states that it and other organizations will mobilize quickly to combat the virus, as they did in 2017.
“Our top priority is to get to [the affected town] Bikoro to work alongside the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and partners to reduce the loss of life and suffering related to this new Ebola virus disease outbreak,” says Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and Response, in the organization's statement about the new outbreak. “Working with partners and responding early and in a coordinated way will be vital to containing this deadly disease.”