NAIROBI — An Ebola outbreak has been declared in northern Democratic Republic of Congo and has killed at least three people in the past three weeks, the World Health Organization said on Friday.
The affected zone is in a forested area of Lower Uele province, and it is close to the border with the Central African Republic, the WHO said.
The outbreak is not linked to previous Ebola flare-ups in Congo, nor the one that tore through West Africa in 2014, killing more than 11,000 people, said Tarik Jasarevic, a WHO spokesman. There had been a number of Ebola outbreaks in the Lower Uele region since 2000, he added. Congo has had eight outbreaks of Ebola since 1976, according to the WHO.
The virus circulates in bats and sometimes causes outbreaks in primates. Scientists believe that humans usually contract it directly from bat guano, from eating bats, or from eating primates that have died of Ebola.
Ebola can persist for months in certain body tissues that are relatively protected from the immune system, including the eyes and the testes, and little is known about the long-term effects of the virus.