A second case of Ebola was confirmed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, on Wednesday, the same day that medics began a vaccination campaign there, and a week after a two-year old boy died of the disease raising fears of another outbreak.
The second case is a 42-year-old woman who tested positive in the city of Beni city health official Michel Tosalisana said.
“So far there have been more than 170 contacts listed around the first case, and with the confirmation of the second case, the listing of contacts will continue,” Tosalisana said.
Beni was an epicenter of the 2018-2020 Ebola outbreaks that killed more than 2,200 people and infected more than 1,000 others.
Nine people from the same neighbourhood of Beni were killed by the recent confirmed flare-up of the deadly virus between May and September according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Ebola is associated with symptoms which can include severe vomiting, hemorrhaging and diarrhea.
It can remain present in semen for months after recovery, causing sporadic flare-ups of the disease that when caught early are generally easier to contain.
Health officials have said it is not yet clear whether the latest cases are linked to previous outbreaks.
Further genomic sequencing is needed to determine if the latest case is linked to previous outbreaks or if it came from a new source.
According to the WHO Merck’s (MRK.N) rVSV-ZEBOV shot is used to target the victim’s contacts, and contacts of contacts, in what is called a “ring vaccination” approach.
Health workers are monitoring more than 170 contacts and 200 vaccine doses have been sent to Beni, WHO added.