An outbreak of the often-fatal Ebola virus killed nine people over the weekend in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country’s health minister said.
The deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), were among 11 “probable or confirmed” cases of the rare hemorrhagic disease in the town of Isiro, reported AFP.
A number of doctors with WHO, Doctors Without Borders, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were treating people infected with the disease, which is fatal in 50 to 90 percent of cases. The virus, which is named after a river in the DR Congo, causes severe bleeding and is transmitted via birds and monkeys.
There was an outbreak of Ebola in Uganda last month, which killed 16 people. But Doctors Without Borders said that the strain of the virus is different than the recent outbreak in the DR Congo, Reuters reported.
“We cannot speak of a direct link between the two epidemics, I think unfortunately it’s just pure coincidence,” Anja de Weggheleire of Doctors Without Borders told the news agency.
Ugandan authorities last week said the outbreak was contained and have clamped down on allowing it to spread further.
De Weggheleire, however, said that the DR Congo may not be able handle the situation as well because “Isiro is quite a busy place, quite well connected, that could make it quite complex to contain (the fever).”