Ebola outbreak in DRC unrelated to West Africa outbreak

A new assessment of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) conducted by the World Health Organization found the virus is not related to the ongoing situation in West Africa.

According to the analysis, samples of the virus from the DRC indicate the virus is the Zaire species, which is most closely related to a virus from the 1995 Ebola outbreak in the country.

The Zaire strain is indigenous to the DRC, where outbreaks occurred following the emergence of the virus in 1976.

Currently, the outbreak in the DRC-its seventh since 1976-is restricted to the Boende district in the Equateur province in the northwestern part of the country. The case in DRC has been linked to the preparation of bush meat for consumption.

The WHO said the virus can be introduced into the human population following contact with infected fruit bats or monkeys, adding that the pattern is consistent with previous outbreaks.

To date, more than 50 cases have been identified, with 31 deaths resulting from the virus, seven of which were healthcare workers.

"The government has rapidly mounted a robust response by reactivating emergency committees at national, provincial, and local levels, setting up isolation centres, and providing community leaders with facts about the disease," the WHO said, adding that its collaboration with the DRC government and its partners is excellent.