GOMA, DRC - The Democratic Republic of the Congo has recorded its first confirmed case of Ebola in over a week, the health ministry said Thursday, although medics said they had made significant progress in their efforts to contain the disease.
The patient, a known contact of someone believed to have died from Ebola on May 20, was confirmed positive on Wednesday for the hemorrhagic fever in the rural community of Iboko, the ministry said in a daily report.
Health officials have moved aggressively to contain the epidemic in a bid to head off a repeat of the 2013-16 outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,300 people.
Over 1,800 health workers and other people who could have been exposed to the virus have received an experimental vaccine first tested in the waning days of the West Africa epidemic.
Those efforts and the slowing pace of new cases have led health officials to express cautious optimism about containing the outbreak, although its location directly up the Congo River from the capital, Kinshasa, remains a concern.
The last confirmed case before Wednesday was on May 30 in Iboko. The ministry also reported five new suspected cases on Thursday, including two in Mbandaka, a city of 1.5 million people.
In all, the ministry has recorded 38 confirmed, 14 probable and 10 suspected cases, including 27 deaths.
The World Health Organization said Thursday that it was committing $15.6 million over the next nine months to help the nine countries that border Congo to scale up their emergency response capabilities.
Earlier this week, the government of the northern Angolan province of Malanje closed its river border with Congo in response to the outbreak.