May 8 (UPI) -- The Democratic Republic of Congo declared a new outbreak of the Ebola virus Tuesday, the World Health Organization said.
The outbreak happened in the town of Bikoro in Congo's Equateur province after laboratory results confirmed two cases of Ebola.
There have been 21 suspected cases of viral haemorrhagic fever, including 17 deaths in the past five weeks.
"Our top priority is to get to Bikoro to work alongside the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and partners to reduce the loss of life and suffering related to this new Ebola virus disease outbreak," said Dr. Peter Salama, deputy director-general of emergency preparedness and response at WHO. "Working with partners and responding early and in a coordinated way will be vital to containing this deadly disease."
WHO released $1 million from its contingency fund for emergencies to support response activities for the next three months and set up its incident management system to fully dedicate staff and resources across the organization to the response.
This is the ninth Ebola outbreak in the country since the virus was discovered there in 1976.
WHO said it will work closely with local health authorities to support the national response to the outbreak.
"We will gather more samples, conduct contact tracing, engage the communities with messages on prevention and control, and put in place methods for improving data collection and sharing," said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa .