The Democratic Republic of Congo’s health minister has confirmed the discovery of a new Ebola case in the country’s Équateur province, which last saw an outbreak of the highly deadly virus in 2018, ultimately killing 33 people there.
The province’s governor, Bobo Boloko Bolumbu, spoke on national radio earlier on Monday, saying there were five likely cases and that four of those infected had already died.
He said the cases were found in Mbandaka, the provincial capital, which is home to more than 1 million people and is an important port city at the confluence of the Congo and Ruki rivers, which are heavily plied for trade and transport.
The World Health Organization’s Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said later on Monday that six cases had been identified by Congo’s Health Ministry. He said the WHO’s response was already underway.
According to reports, no cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Mbandaka, although more than 3,000 have been confirmed across Congo.
The coronavirus and Ebola are unrelated. Ebola, which is endemic to Africa’s tropical rain forests, is transmitted only through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids and manifests as a hemorrhagic fever accompanied in severe cases by vomiting and extensive internal bleeding.