TEMPO.CO, Kinshasa - Two Ebola-related deaths have been confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said Felix Kabange Numbi, Health Minister of the Central Africa on Sunday, August 24, 2014. The information was supported by the fact that two of eight samples collected from Equateur, one of the provinces in the country, were tested positive for the deadly disease.
Numbi said that Congolese officials believed that Ebola had infected 11 people who are now in isolation while 80 other suspected cases of infection are being traced.
"I declare an Ebola epidemic in the region of Djera, in the territory of Boende in the province of Equateur," Numbi said as reported by Al Jazeera news agency yesterday.
However, Numbi said that the infections were of a different strain compared to those in the outbreak that occurred in West Africa, which has killed more than 1,400 people since it started on March 2014. One of the two Ebola-positive samples was claimed to be a Sudanese strain virus, while the other sample was a mixture between the Sudanese and the Zaire strain virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said last week that the deaths that occurred in Congo were not related to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. However, WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said that there is a possibility of Ebola infection.
RINDU P. HESTYA | AL JAZEERA