An Ebola outbreak has been declared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, four months after the last one ended.
On April 5, a case was confirmed in a 31-year-old man. He was admitted to an Ebola treatment center on Thursday but died hours later.
The World Health Organization’s regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said: “Time is not on our side. The disease has had a two-week start and now we are trying to catch up.”
Overall, this is the 14th recorded Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1976, when the virus was first discovered.
Efforts to stop the current outbreak have already begun, with officials confirming that the patient who died received a safe and dignified burial.
More than 70 of his contacts are also being traced, and vaccinations are to be intensified in the city of Mbandaka.
Ebola is spread by coming into contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person or contaminated materials.
Early symptoms include muscle aches and fever, which resemble those seen in other common illnesses such as malaria.
In previous Ebola outbreaks, mortality rates have ranged from 25% to 90%, but effective treatments are now available, and patients who receive early care see their chances of survival improve significantly.
Dr Moeti added: “The positive news is that DRC health authorities have more experience than anyone else in the world in rapidly controlling Ebola outbreaks.”