Experts are rushing to confirm a second Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, some 600 miles from an ongoing epidemic that has claimed more than 2,200 lives.
The governor of Équateur Province announced on Monday morning that five people have tested positive for EBOLA in Mbandaka the capital city.
During an announcement on local radio the governor, Bobo Boloko Bolumbu, said that four of these people have died.
Samples from the cases have been sent to the INRB, the country’s national medical research organisation in Kinshasa, for secondary confirmation and the World Health Organization has been informed.
“The laboratory has given us the information that all the deaths analysed since the 18th of May are a consequence of the Ebola virus,” the governor said. “However, for precision, the samples have been sent to the INRB for quality control.
“I ask the population to be calm and to continue to respect hygiene measures. Regularly wash your hands with soap. Don’t, say, greet with your hands. Don’t touch ill or dead people who had a fever or bleeding,” he added.
“Four people have already died,” DRC’s health minister, Eteni Longondo, later told a press conference when confirming that the samples taken to the IRNB had tested positive for Ebola.
The Équateur Province is in the north-west of the country, roughly 600 miles from North Kivu and Ituri – regions on the border with Uganda which have been at the epicenter of the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.