Global health officials monitoring possible resurgence of Ebola virus in Congo

Global health officials are monitoring a possible resurgence of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after reports of an outbreak of the dreaded infectious disease near the country's northern border.

The country's public health officials had reported at least 43 cases of suspected Ebola and four deaths. Only two of the cases had been positively confirmed as Ebola in a laboratory, but the situation is being monitored by experts at the World Health Organisation and the United States' Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also teams had also been working in the isolated region to contain the outbreak.

''The Likati health district is in a remote area, but contact tracing is essential to contain the outbreak in its focus; the DRC can rely on very experienced health workers for this purpose,'' Yokouidé Allarangar, WHO representative in the DRC, said in a statement earlier this month.

According to commentators, this was the eighth epidemic of the virus in the DRC since it was discovered in 1976. The outbreak comes only three years after  an outbreak in West Africa killed over 11,000 people and created a global panic.

According to commentators, it was still not clear as to how Ebola outbreaks began, but researchers theorise that it could traced to people eating infected pieces of ''bush meat'' – the meat of primates and other wild animals sold in local markets – or from bats carrying the carrying the virus.

Meanwhile, scientists and public health officials are investigating whether pigs were somehow involved in the Ebola outbreak in the DRC. According to commentators, if so, it would add a new chapter to the history of the virus.

Eighty four pigs had recently died in eight villages in Nambwa, the epicentre of the current outbreak, according to a report issued yesterday by the DRC's Ministry of Health and researchers had taken samples from those animals, according to the report.

''I'm doubtful that the pigs actually carry Ebola, but we have to test them,'' says epidemiologist Fabian Leendertz of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, who has been consulted by the Institute of National Biomedical Research in Kinshasa about the potential link, Science reported.