Health officials from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said they will begin administering Ebola vaccinations in the eastern cities of Beni and Mangina, which experienced an outbreak of the disease last week. The strategy is the same that was used to contain the previous outbreak in Congo's Equateur province in which more than 3,300 people were vaccinated.
The outbreak is spreading through five health zones in North Kivu province and one health zone in Ituri province, which poses geographic and political challenges, the WHO said.
Laboratory examinations aimed at determining whether the "probable" cases tested positive for Ebola, which has no proven cure, were ongoing.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo proclaimed the end of the ninth outbreak of the dreaded Ebola virus on Tuesday, July 24, during a press conference in Kinshasa.
So far, 13 cases have been confirmed and three deaths registered.
A World Health Organization spokesperson said: 'This is an active conflict zone. More than one million displaced people are now residing in the affected region, which shares borders with Rwanda and Uganda. Investigations are ongoing, but as of August 3, a total of 43 Ebola virus cases, including 33 deaths, have been reported, and another 33 suspected cases are pending lab testing. The Ebola virus has a fatality rate of around 50%.
"This new cluster is occurring in an environment which is very different from where we were operating in the northwest", Peter Salama, WHO deputy director-general of Emergency Preparedness and Response, said.
"Current response focus includes contact tracing, infection prevention and control, particularly as regards health facilities; isolation and care of patients (and) outreach to communities", reads the WHO statement. Trade activities between the countries result in frequent cross-border movement. The major barrier will be safely accessing the affected population'.
There was a concern it would spread to Kinshasa - 364 miles (586km) south on the river, which has an global airport and 12 million people residents.