Death toll rises from Congo Ebola outbreak

Ebola deaths are on the rise in the Democratic Republic of the Congo after an outbreak caused 31 fatalities, according to the World Health Organization.

The deaths from the outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever doubled in the past week. Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesman for the WHO, said that the additional cases may be a result of tracking as opposed to the spread of the disease, NPR reports.

"We can expect an increase in the number of cases as more people are tracked," Jasarevic said, according to NPR. "These are not necessarily new cases. I want to stress that this is a serious outbreak, and there is a risk of the Ebola virus spreading, but we would not say that it's out of control."

In contrast, another WHO spokesman referred to the outbreak as out of control, Reuters reports.

"If nothing is done now, the disease will reach other places, and even major towns will be threatened," the spokesman said, according to Reuters.

The outbreak was first reported on August 17 with 10 cases and six deaths. That number increased to 28 cases and 14 deaths by September 3, NPR reports.

Congo has experienced eight prior outbreaks of Ebola since 1976. An outbreak of the disease in 2007 killed nearly 200 people.

There is no cure or vaccine for Ebola, though patients can be treated for symptoms such as dehydration, diarrhea, vomiting and fever.