The Ebola outbreak in the DR Congo’s northwest is growing, according to health officials, sounding the alarm weeks after the country officially declared an end to a separate Ebola epidemic which claimed over 2,000 lives.
There have been 54 confirmed cases since June 1 in Mbandaka, a transport hub in Equateur province, including 22 deaths, according to figures released by the country’s health ministry on Friday.
There were four additional suspected cases.
The outbreak is DR Congo’s 11th since Ebola was identified in 1976.
On June 25, the vast central African country officially declared an end to an Ebola epidemic that broke out in the east two years ago, which Health Minister Eteni Longondo said was “the longest, most complex and deadliest” in the country’s history.
The two epidemics have no common viral strain, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO called the latest figures “of great concern”, saying that it had identified 56 cases by Thursday.
“It is now surpassing the previous outbreak in this area which was closed off and controlled at a total of 54 cases,” said Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa, referring to a 2018 Ebola outbreak in Equateur in which 33 people died.