This is the ninth time Ebola has been recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the disease made its first known appearance - near the vast central African country's northern Ebola river - in the 1970s.
World Health Organization and DRC also now monitor for signs that may indicate that the infectious disease is spreading to other areas. Neighboring countries have been alerted about the new outbreak.
Health officials think the DRC Ebola outbreak may have begun sometime in April because of epidemiologic links with the most recently sick patients, but Salama downplayed suspicions that an illness cluster in January and February in an overlapping area near Bikoro might be related to the outbreak. Soon, health-care workers and those who touched the bodies of the dead were coming down with the virus themselves, and then passing it to others.
The deadly Ebola Virus Disease resurfaced in Africa once again. The intention is to ensure that any suspected case can be promptly handed over to health officials at the airports. It can also spread to people who encounter the bodily fluids or viscera of infected primates or bats, such as when someone prepares these animals for food.
"According to our early information, the cases have been reported since December and the first deaths were reported in January, but the link between the deaths and the epidemic has not yet been established", WHO Congo spokesperson Eugene Kabambi told Reuters. Eighteen people died as of Friday, including a nurse.
It was reported that on May 30, 2017, the regulatory and ethics-review boards in the DRC approved the use of an experimental Ebola vaccine to combat the disease.
World Health Organization now has a team on the ground along with partner Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), and will invole an additional team of between 20-40 specialists in epidemiology, logistics, contact-tracing, and vaccination programmes, in the coming days.
Ebola returns to Africa after 2014 outbreak claimed more than 11,000 lives, but in the USA funding cuts for Ebola response were announced this week.
Having already deployed personal protective equipment on the ground, WHO plans to have a mobile laboratory up and running by this weekend, following approval from the DRC's Ministry of Health.
Despite regular outbreaks every few years, death tolls in Congo have been significantly lower. The ongoing epidemic is located in the Bikoro health zone, located in Equateur province, in western Democratic Republic of the Congo and on the border with the Republic of Congo.
Ebola symptoms can include a very high temperature, a headache, or a sore throat.