At least four new cases of the Ebola virus have emerged in Congo’s northeast, just a week after an outbreak in the northwest was declared over, the country’s health ministry said on Aug. 1.
“Just a week after announcing the end of the ninth epidemic of Ebola virus disease in the Equator Province, the Democratic Republic of Congo is facing a new epidemic,” Kalenga told NBC News.
There was no indication the two outbreaks, separated by more than 1,500 miles, are related, Health Minister Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga said in a statement.
“Although we did not expect to face a tenth epidemic so early, the detection of the virus is an indicator of the proper functioning of the surveillance system,” Kalenga said.
The new cases are in Mangina in the eastern Mabalako health zone, about 18 miles west of Beni, a city of more than 230,000 people. Travel into and out of the village has been blocked.
At least 50 people were infected by Ebola the most recent outbreak in May 2018 in Equator Province. According to officials in the African nation, 33 died.
An Ebola outbreak concentrated in the West African countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea killed at least 11,000 people between 2014 and 2016.
Scare in Denver
On July 29, a man who recently helped people infected with Ebola in eastern Congo exhibited flu-like symptoms in a Denver hospital, the Denver Post reported in late July. The incident prompted concerns that the man was infected with Ebola.
The initial tests came back negative, but the patient and his crew were put in isolation at the Infectious Disease Department of Medicine at Denver Health, the Post reported.
Currently, there “is no threat or concern for patient, staff or visitor safety,” the hospital told the Post. The patient, meanwhile, is apparently “getting better,” officials said.
Officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control are assisting and assessing the risks, the newspaper report said. KDVR reported that a final determination will be made by the Colorado health department.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.