The case was identified after samples from a 46-year-old woman from the eastern province of North Kivu tested positive after her death on 15 August.
“Analysis showed that this case was genetically linked to the 2018-2020 outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, the longest and largest in the country,” the statement said. Scientists say the virus may remain in the central nervous system and body fluids of survivors and flare up much later.
“Ebola outbreaks are occurring with greater frequency in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is a cause for concern,” WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said in a statement. However, she expressed confidence that local health authorities will contain the virus and stop the outbreak, as they have done several times in the past.
Contact tracing and monitoring is underway and two hundred vaccinations will be sent to the region this week to kick off a containment campaign, the statement said.
Health authorities are still determining the deceased woman’s vaccination status, the department added.
The report says at least 131 contacts of the woman have been identified, including 60 frontline health workers, 59 of whom have been vaccinated against Ebola.
The dense rainforests of the Congo are a natural reservoir for the Ebola virus, which causes fever, body aches and diarrhea.
Since 1976, 14 outbreaks have been reported in the country. The 2018–2020 outbreak in eastern Congo was the largest and second largest ever reported, with almost 3,500 cases in total.