KINSHASA – An Ebola outbreak has been declared in northeast Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization said Friday, after the virus caused three deaths in the area since April 22.
The WHO said the outbreak affects an equatorial forest region in Bas-Uele province, bordering Central African Republic.
The last Ebola outbreak in Congo in 2014 was quickly contained and killed 49 people according to official figures.
In a television address, Health Minister Oly Ilunga confirmed the outbreak while urging the population “not to panic”.
The country “has taken all necessary measures to responde quickly and efficiently to this new outbreak”, he said.
The WHO said it was working closely with DR Congo authorities to help deploy health workers and protective equipment in the remote area, which is difficult for teams to access, in order to “rapidly control the outbreak”.
In 2013, an Ebola epidemic began in west Africa that killed 11,300 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia and has left thousands more survivors with long-term health problems.
The WHO was criticised at the time for responding too slowly and failing to grasp the gravity of the outbreak.