Ebola killed one person in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is suspected in two other deaths, the World Health Organization said Friday.
WHO, the public health arm of the U.N., said six other people were hospitalized as part of the cluster of illnesses and deaths that began April 22 in the remote Bas Uele Province, a northern swath of the country that borders the Central African Republic.
“It is in a very remote zone, very forested, so we are a little lucky. But we always take this very seriously,” WHO’s Congo spokesman, Eric Kabambi, told Reuters.
The country’s ministry of health confirmed the presence of Ebola in one of the nine cases, though further tests are underway.
An unprecedented Ebola outbreak in West Africa killed more than 11,000 people and sparked a global panic, with some governors in the U.S. imposing strict quarantine measures on people returning from the hot zone.
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea by far bore the brunt of epidemic, prompting a massive international aid response. Responders started to get a handle on it by late 2015, though a series of flareups stretched the danger into mid-2016, and U.S. aid workers are still assisting the recovery.
The virus was discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was known as Zaire at the time.
Sporadic outbreaks have struck the country since then, most recently in 2014, when nearly 50 people died.
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