A second outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus has struck Congo, even before an earlier outbreak in a volatile eastern region has formally ended, adding yet another health crisis for a country already battling COVID-19 and the world’s largest measles outbreak.
The Congolese health ministry said Monday it had identified six cases of the Ebola virus in Equateur Province, a region along the Congo River on the border with the Republic of the Congo. Four people have died.
The new outbreak appears unrelated to another that erupted in North Kivu Province, along Congo’s eastern border with Uganda and Rwanda, in 2018. That incident became the second-worst Ebola outbreak in modern history, fueled by violence and unrest in a war-torn region where about a million people are displaced.
The World Health Organization said the health ministry had identified 3,406 cases, and 2,243 had died.
The last known patient in Congo’s eastern outbreak was released in mid-May but the country now must go about another month without any new cases before an official end to the outbreak can be declared.
Congo also has confirmed 611 cases of COVID-19, including 20 deaths, and the number is rising, according to figures released Monday by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, like many African countries, Congo has conducted extremely limited testing, and observers fear the true toll may be far higher.