Ebola MSF Worker
A Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) health worker stands outside an Ebola isolation unit. REUTERS/2Tango

The health minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo confirmed two people have died as a result of Ebola. However, local officials said they did not believe the deaths were related to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa that has affected Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Guinea.

DR Congo Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi said two of eight samples taken from the Boende region in the northwest tested positive for Ebola. Local officials said the virus is responsible for the deaths of 13 people in the area, including five health workers, Kabange said.

An outbreak of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis has led to the deaths of more than 70 people in DR Congo, the World Health Organization said Thursday although the organization said at the time it was not related to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Kabange said the incident marks the seventh outbreak of Ebola in DR Congo since the virus was first identified in 1976. The last outbreak was recorded in 2012.

“The experiences gained during the six past Ebola epidemics will be put to use to contain the illness,” he said.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has led to 2,617 infections and 1,427 deaths, the World Health Organization said.