The first case was reported April 22 after a 39-year-old man became sick and took a taxi took a nearby hospital. She added that the World Health Organization had assured the DRC government of its preparedness to respond to the outbreak of the scourge after the government raised the alarm. Kabambi added that health officials were trying to located 125 people believed to be linked to the cases.
Health professionals are targeting the country's remote north-eastern province of Bas-Uele. The disease is characterized by high temperatures, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and in most cases, death.
A spokesman for the Geneva-based United Nations (UN) health agency told Reuters that WHO was working with specialists to conduct an epidemiological investigation "to better understand the extent of the current outbreak" and to establish who is at risk of becoming infected with Ebola. The virus is spread by coming into contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. Ebola kills chimpanzees, which are eaten in the region, and whose populations could also suffer from this outbreak.
He said that the ministry has reactivated the multiagency outbreak coordination committee comprising of public health experts in government and development partners to assess the situation.
Three days prior, a team led by the DRC's Health Ministry began the trek to the Likati health zone to begin an investigation. The outbreak was declared in a small town, Aketi, that lies more than 800 miles from the densely populated capital Kinshasa and 81 miles from the provincial hub of Buta.
There is no approved vaccine to prevent the virus, and there is no approved treatment or cure.
An experimental vaccine has been shown to be highly effective against the virus, although quantities are limited.
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday activated the Emergency Operational Centre to monitor the Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo and developed a concept of operations for the emergency.
Médecins Sans Frontières, the United Nations Children's Fund and other global organizations are standing by as well, WHO said last week.
Congo has had seven known Ebola outbreaks in the past, including one in 2014 with several dozen cases.
The deadly haemorrhagic fever was first detected in its dense tropical forests in 1976 and named after the nearby river Ebola.
In 2014, several people died due to the outbreak that affected Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea but since June a year ago, these countries were declared Ebola free.