Democratic Republic of Congo confirms two Ebola cases, 10 more cases suspected

KINSHASA, May 8 (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo has confirmed two cases of Ebola in the northwestern town of Bikoro and at least 10 more cases are suspected, the head of the national institute for biological research, Jean Jack Muyembe, said on Tuesday.

A source at the ministry of health also said two cases had been confirmed and added that there would be an official announcement about it later in the day.

It is the ninth time Ebola has been recorded in the DRC, whose eastern Ebola river gave the deadly virus its name when it was discovered there in the 1970s.

The latest incidence of the disease comes less than a year after the central African country's last outbreak, in which eight people were infected of whom four died.

Ebola is believed to be spread over long distances by bats, which can host the virus without dying, as it infects other animals it shares trees with such as monkeys. It often spreads to humans via infected bushmeat.

Congo's vast, remote geography gives it an advantage, as outbreaks are often localized and relatively easy to isolate.

In West Africa, an Ebola outbreak that ended two years ago killed more than 11,300 people and infected some 28,600 as it rolled through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia before finally being contained.

More on the Ebola outbreak:

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West Point slum in Liberia still struggling after Ebola epidemic
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West Point slum in Liberia still struggling after Ebola epidemic
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: Children bathe in a bucket in the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 10: A restaurant sits empty overlooking the West Point slum on February 10, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. Monrovia was hard hit by the Ebola epidemic and the economy has not recovered. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 10: A water tank for washing hands stands in front of a municipal center in the West Point slum on February 10, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. The school was cleaned and refurbished following the epidemic. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 10: Members of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change party protest in the West Point slum on February 10, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. West Point was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak and remains one of the most impoverished communities in Liberia. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 10: Children play basketball in front of a school, formerly an Ebola center, in the West Point slum on February 10, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. The school was cleaned and refurbished following the epidemic. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: A child stands atop a sandbag made from a former sack of American food aid sent to the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: A man smooths out streetside posters in the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: The Liberian flag flies in front of a school formerly used as an Ebola holding center in the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. In August of 2014 the center was overrun by a mob, who claimed that the Ebola epidemic was a hoax. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak, and health facilities at the time were overwhelmed. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: People pray during a seaside church service in the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: Boys show off their new puppies in the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: People pray during a seaside church service in the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: Fish dry as children play in the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: A woman and her child pass by an internet cafe in the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: Women walk through the refuge-strewn shorline of the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: Women dance during a church service on the beach in the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. After almost two years, the World Health Organization this January 14 declared the epidemic over, after it killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: Children stand outside a cinema in the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: A caretaker stands in a classroom, empty of students while on a school vacation, in school formerly used as an Ebola holding center in the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. In August of 2014 the center was overran and patients sick with Ebola were removed by a mob, who claimed that the Ebola epidemic was a hoax. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak, and health facilities at the time were overwhelmed. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: A man rests in the afternoon heat at his sidewalk clothing stand in the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: Chidren play on the beach of the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: Ebola survivor Banganelee Yougi, 22, smiles while passing a market in the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: Caretakers eat lunch at the entrance of a school formerly used as an Ebola holding center in the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. In August of 2014 the center was overrun by a mob, who claimed that the Ebola epidemic was a hoax. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak, and health facilities at the time were overwhelmed. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: Women walk with their wares through the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak, and health facilities at the time were overwhelmed. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: Boys carry wood for construction along the refuge-strewn shorline of the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: A teddy bear sits on a bed where a feverish baby Benson, 2 months, was taken to an Ebola treatment center in October 2014 in the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. Benson died two days later from Ebola. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - FEBRUARY 09: Cinema goers come to watch a movie in the West Point slum on February 9, 2016 in Monrovia, Liberia. West Point, the most impoverished and overpopulated community in Liberia, was hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. After almost two years, on January 14, 2016 the World Health Organization declared the epidemic over, after the virus had killed some 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500 people in West Africa. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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(Reporting by Benoit Nyemba and Fiston Mahamba Writing by Tim Cocks Editing by Gareth Jones)

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