Congo reports a single confirmed case of Ebola, UN says

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"Our country must confront an outbreak of the Ebola virus that constitutes a public health crisis of global significance", the health ministry said.

The WHO said it was working closely with DR Congo authorities to help deploy health workers and protective equipment in the remote area, which is hard for teams to access, in order to "rapidly control the outbreak".

The outbreak is not linked to previous Ebola flare-ups in Congo, nor the one that tore through West Africa in 2014, killing more than 11,000 people, said Tarik Jasarevic, a World Health Organization spokesman.

The last outbreak of Ebola in DRC was in 2014 when the country recorded several dozen cases, but World Health Organization has warned that the deadly haemorrhagic virus could resurface at any time as it can linger in the eyes, central nervous system and bodily fluids of some survivors.

Of the nine people suspected to have contracted the deadly virus, three died, with one case of Ebola confirmed through tests at the national laboratory in the capital Kinshasa, WHO Congo representative Allarangar Yokouide, said in a statement.

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Though Likati health district is located in a remote area, health officials said it is taking the outbreak seriously and working to contain it as quickly as possible. The fever is associated with vomiting and blood loss, and kills around half of all the people it infects. It said the teams of experts, including epidemiologists, biologists and hygiene specialists had been dispatched to the region. In 2014, a three-month outbreak in DR Congo killed 49 people.

"Reinforcement of epidemiological surveillance, contact tracing, case management, and community engagement are under way", Moeti said.

Liberia was only declared free of active Ebola virus transmission last June.

The 2013-2016 West African Ebola outbreak, which resulted in more than 11 300 deaths, highlighted the need for a vaccine.

The disease was first identified in 1976. Almost 29,000 total cases, 15,000 of which were confirmed in a lab, were reported in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea in what was the deadliest outbreak of the disease in history. The DRC outbreak was near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.

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