KINSHASA, Congo — At least four new cases of the Ebola virus have emerged in Congo’s northeast, just a week after an outbreak in the northwest was declared over, the country’s health ministry said Wednesday.

There was no indication the two outbreaks, separated by more than 1,553 miles, are related, Health Minister Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga said in a statement.

“Although we did not expect to face a tenth epidemic so early, the detection of the virus is an indicator of the proper functioning of the surveillance system,” Kalenga said.

The World Health Organization said it had begun moving staff and supplies into the area.

Congo’s east is volatile, with dozens of rebel groups staging attacks and vying for mineral-rich land. The health ministry said it has put in place security to protect a team of health experts arriving on Thursday.

“This is an active conflict zone,” Peter Salama, the WHO deputy director-general for emergency response, said in a statement, calling the region very different from where the last outbreak occurred. “The major barrier will be safely accessing the affected population.”

The region is near the heavily trafficked border with Uganda and Rwanda and two of Africa’s best-known wildlife parks, Virunga and Rwenzori.

The North Kivu health division notified Congo’s health ministry on Saturday of 26 cases of hemorrhagic fever, including 20 deaths in North Kivu province, the ministry said.

The new cases are in Mangina in the eastern Mabalako health zone, about 18 miles west of Beni, a city of more than 230,000 people. Travel into and out of the village has been blocked.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.