The health ministry of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) announced Wednesday that four people in the country have tested positive for the Ebola virus. This announcement comes just days after the ministry declared another Ebola outbreak in the northern part of the country which left 33 people dead to be over.
The new outbreak, which officials stated is not related to the previous outbreak, in centralized near the city of Beni close to the DRC-Uganda border. According to Reuters, the health ministry confirmed that 20 people have died so far as a result of “hemorrhagic fevers” in the area but declined to say when those deaths occurred.
Health officials from the DRC as expected in Beni on Thursday to set up mobile laboratories and begin treating and tracking patients. The international community praised Congolese health care workers for their response to the previous outbreak in April, which also saw the first deployment of the experimental Ebola vaccine.
The Ebola Virus was first discovered in 1976 in the northern area of the DRC close to the Ebola River. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) bats are the likely carrier, and the virus spreads to humans and other animals via contact with blood or body fluids or infected objects. Symptoms of the Ebola Virus include fever, weakness, headache, vomiting and diarrhea, and the tell-tale uncontrollable hemorrhage.
Humans infected with the Ebola Virus face a fatality rate of around 50 percent, with some outbreaks having a fatality rate as high as 90 percent according to the World Health Organization. Survivors often have lingering symptoms such as “tiredness, muscle aches, eye and vision problems and stomach pain,” and may also face stigma and discrimination when they return home.