Ebola outbreak declared in Democratic Republic of Congo

During that outbreak, which was declared a "public health emergency of global concern" by the WHO, the Western Hemisphere also saw its first Ebola patients.

According to WHO, the country's health minister requested the United Nations agency's support after one of five blood specimens tested positive for the Ebola virus disease.

The current outbreak comes one year after the end of an Ebola epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people, primarily in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The Congo Ministry of Health notified the WHO of nine suspected cases of Ebola in the Aketi territory, in the northeastern province of Bas-Uele, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it's taking the situation "very seriously" after three deaths in a remote forest were linked to the virus. The fever is associated with vomiting and blood loss, and kills around half of all the people it infects.

"And also personnel specializing in water, hygiene and sanitation, are scheduled to reach the affected area today (Friday) or tomorrow (Saturday) via Kisangani", WHO said.

The WHO confirmed one of the deaths as a case of Ebola in a lab in Kinshasa, the DRC's largest city. The US Agency for International Development has said an estimated 70 percent of the population has little or no access to healthcare.

Out of the nine cases, three people have since died, including one who tested positive for Ebola, according to World Health Organization spokesman Christian Lindmeier.

Nigeria was able to curtail the disease and was subsequently declared Ebola free by WHO.

So far all the cases have been tied to a remote village, and it's a strain of ebola that's been seen in the country before.

Congo has had seven previous outbreaks of Ebola since the virus was discovered in the country in 1976.

"Gavi's work with Merck means there are 300,000 doses of Ebola vaccine available if needed to stop this outbreak becoming a pandemic", Gavi CEO Dr. Seth Berkley said. The last was in 2014, when - at the same time - parts of West Africa were fighting a separate outbreak, the worst in history. Various places in Africa have since sporadically experienced Ebola clusters and outbreaks.

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