The World Health Organization has confirmed a case of Ebola virus in Democratic Republic of Congo.
The case was confirmed Thursday at a Kinshasa laboratory, the WHO said in a series of Twitter messages released Friday afternoon. Three deaths have been reported among a total of nine cases under investigation. The DR Congo Ministry of Public Health confirmed the cases, which have occurred since April 22, Reuters reports.
“Our country must confront an outbreak of the Ebola virus that constitutes a public health crisis of international significance,” the ministry said in a statement.
The medical NGO Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) in the DR Congo said it has urgently dispatched personnel to the Likati health zone in the Bas-Uele province and those teams are en route.
The region is in the extreme north of the country, at the border with the Central African Republic and not far from South Sudan. They will join the coordinated response of government and medical response professionals.
“The population lives in a remote area where access to health care is extremely limited,” said ALIMA, which has a base near Kisangani. “We are doing all we can to avoid the spread of the disease.”
The organization is sending doctors and nurses, but also epidemiologists and logistics experts, and water, sanitation and hygiene teams. Protection equipment and other medical supplies also are en route.
“It is essential that all operators work in close coordination,” said Dr. Moumouni Kinda, the program manager for ALIMA, a global agency with its African operations based in Senegal.