A Congolese health worker demonstrating proper hand-washing methods to prevent Ebola in Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 19.
The Ministy of Health (MOH) conducted a joint mission on 2 August with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners to evaluate the situation in the Mangina health area, where the majority of the cluster of new Ebola cases have been detected.
Health officials announced the outbreak Wednesday, about a week after the government of Congo declared another Ebola outbreak in Equateur province had been contained.
Three cases have been confirmed in Beni, a regional trading hub of several hundred thousand people about 30 km from the centre of the outbreak in the town of Mabalako, and some 70 km from the Ugandan border.
An additional 43 suspected cases of Ebola were reported, including 13 confirmed by lab testing, according to WHO.
The swift vaccinations of more than 3,300 people helped in containing the previous outbreak, and World Health Organization has said it hopes to know as early as Tuesday whether the Ebola strain in this new outbreak is the one for which the vaccine can be used.
Containing an Ebola outbreak in a "war zone" in the Democratic Republic of Congo is among the most hard challenges the World Health Organization has faced, a top WHO official said Friday.
Congo has dealt with Ebola for decades and this is its tenth outbreak of the virus. Ebola, first identified in the country in 1976, jumps to humans from animals including bats and monkeys.
The DRC authorities were alerted to the recent outbreak by the death of a 65-year-old woman in Mangina in late July.
After she was buried members of her family began to display symptoms of the virus "and seven of them have died", the ministry said Saturday. The ministry said overall more than 875 contacts had been registered as teams try to track down anyone who might have been in touch with those infected.
With the region's armed groups in mind, the ministry said it was working with Congo's defense ministry and the United Nations peacekeeping mission on security for health workers and the community at large.