A case of Ebola has been confirmed in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to an internal report on Friday from the national biomedical laboratory, five months after the end of the most recent outbreak there.
Congo’s health minister declined to confirm the information but said a statement would be published shortly.
It was not immediately known if the case was related to the 2018-20 outbreak that killed more than 2,200 people in eastern Congo, or the flare-up that killed six this year.
The report from the biomedical lab, the INRB, said the positive result came from a 2-year-old in a densely populated neighborhood of the city of Beni, one of the epicenters of the 2018-20 outbreak, which was the second deadliest on record.
Three of the baby’s neighbors presented symptoms consistent with Ebola last month and then died, the report said, but none were tested for the virus.
It is not unusual for sporadic cases to occur following a major outbreak, health experts say. Particles of the virus can remain present in semen for months after recovery from an infection.
Congo has recorded 11 outbreaks since the disease, which causes severe vomiting and diarrhea and is spread through contact with body fluids, was discovered near its Ebola River in 1976.
The country’s equatorial forests have been a breeding ground for the virus.