Ebola death reported in DRC, World Heath Organisations confirms

An Ebola virus virion is seen in this electron micrograph image Credit: AP

One person has died after testing positive for the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Agency has said.

The UN body said the case had been confirmed by a national reference laboratory in Kinshasa.

The incident, which WHO said had been brought to its attention on Thursday, could signal the start of a new outbreak.

"An investigation team led by the Ministry of Health and supported by WHO and partners has deployed and is expected to reach the affected area in the coming days," said Dr Peter Salama, WHO executive director for emergencies.

Reuters quoted WHO spokesman Eric Kabambi as saying: "It [the Ebola case] is in a very remote zone, very forested, so we are a little lucky. We always take this very seriously."

Ebola is a deadly hemorrhagic fever that occasionally jumps to humans from animals, including bats and monkeys.

The last outbreak of Ebola in DRC was in 2014 when the country recorded several dozen cases, but WHO has warned that the deadly haemorrhagic virus could resurface at any time as it can linger in the eyes, central nervous system and bodily fluids of some survivors.

The 2014 outbreak in DRC was unconnected to the epidemic in West Africa, which killed thousands and became the worst Ebola outbreak on record.

An experimental vaccine was recently developed that WHO says could be used in emergencies.