An Ebola outbreak has been declared in the north-west of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with two confirmed cases and 17 deaths as per the country’s statement released on Tuesday.

medical personnel taking care of an Ebola patient

The incident in the town of Bikoro comes more than a year after an outbreak in the country killed four people.

In 2014. more than 11,000 people were killed in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The outbreak declaration was made after laboratory results confirmed two cases of Ebola out of a sample of five suspected patients, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

“Our top priority is to get to Bikoro to work alongside the government,” the WHO’s Peter Salama said in a statement.

“Working with partners and responding early and in a co-ordinated way will be vital to containing this deadly disease.”

The international health organisation says it has released $1m (£738,000) from an emergency fund and has deployed more than 50 experts to work with officials in the country.

This is the ninth time an Ebola outbreak has been recorded in the DR Congo. The virus was first discovered there in 1976 (when the country was known as Zaire) and is named after the Ebola river.

Ebola is thought to be spread over long distances by fruit bats and is often transmitted to humans via contaminated bushmeat.

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