Congo reports a single confirmed case of Ebola, UN says


Forty-nine people were killed in the country's last outbreak of Ebola in 2014.

Both Congo and public health workers will have to spring into action to prevent a small pocket of disease from turning into a larger outbreak.

A spokesman for the World Health Organization told Reuters on Friday that a person in the Democratic Republic of Congo had died after becoming infected with Ebola - a contagious virus that causes haemorrhagic fever. The region is close to the country's border with the neighboring Central African Republic (CAR).

The last outbreak of Ebola in Congo was in 2014 and killed 42 people.

In a television address, Health Minister Oly Ilunga confirmed the outbreak while urging the population "not to panic".

According to WHO, the country's health minister requested the United Nations agency's support after one of five blood specimens tested positive for the Ebola virus disease. BBC noted that the DRC has faced several outbreaks of Ebola virus disease in the past and successfully contained the spread of the infection.

Thousands more survivors have been left with long-term health problems and Liberia was only declared free of active Ebola virus transmission last June.

It said the health zone at Likati some 1,300 km from Kinshasa was very hard to access but stressed it was crucial to pinpoint who had had contact with those affected in order to nip the latest outbreak in the bud. About 300,000 doses of the experimental vaccine have been stockpiled and could potentially be made available at the site of the outbreak in Congo if the health experts recommend it.

"This is not the first outbreak for the DRC, so its health system has experience in dealing with it", Lindmeier said.

At a meeting last month, the World Health Organization experts said the vaccine should be used when Ebola outbreaks occur, but under strict conditions, including a requirement that its recipients give their informed consent. "The vaccine has shown high efficacy in clinical trials and could play a vital role in protecting the most vulnerable".