The World Health Organization (WHO) declared an end to the most recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday. The announcement comes 42 days after the last confirmed Ebola patient tested negative for the disease for the second time.
"With the end of this epidemic, DRC has once again proved to the world that we can control the very deadly Ebola virus if we respond early in a coordinated and efficient way,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, said in a statement.
Four people died as a result of the outbreak, but four others survived the disease, according to the WHO. Nearly 600 people who came in close contact with infected individuals were monitored throughout the outbreak for any signs or symptoms of Ebola.
This was the DRC's eighth Ebola outbreak since 1976, according to the WHO.
At least three people have died from an Ebola outbreak in a remote northern area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to the World Health Organization.
All three deaths, as well as 11 suspected cases, were reported in the Likati health zone of Bas Uele province, which borders the Central African Republic.
This is the eighth Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since it was discovered in 1976.
Ebola is spread to the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions or other bodily fluids of an infected animal such as a bat or chimpanzee.
"Ebola then spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people," the WHO explains on its website.
The 2014 Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo killed 49 people.
Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's regional director for Africa, met with national authorities Saturday to discuss ways to mount an effective response to stop the current outbreak.
"WHO has already mobilized technical experts to be deployed on the ground and is ready to provide the leadership and technical expertise required to mount a coordinated and effective response," Moeti said in a statement. "I encourage to public to work with the health authorities and take the necessary preventive measures to protect their health."
Just days before Moeti's visit, a team lead by the DRC's Ministry of Health was deployed to the region to conduct an in-depth field investigation.
WHO notes that the first Ebola case was reported on April 22. In that instance, a 45-year-old man had a taxi driver take him to the hospital and was declared dead upon arrival. The taxi driver and a person who cared for the first victim also died. Health officials are currently following 25 contacts of the second patient who died.
Officials say the full extent of this outbreak is still unclear.