GENEVA, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization on Tuesday said in a statement that the outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a distinct and independent event, with no relationship to the outbreak in West Africa.
Based on virus sequencing of samples from the Ebola outbreak in DRC, WHO's collaborating laboratory in Gabon confirmed the virus is the Zaire strain. The indigenous strain in a lineage most closely related to the outbreak occurred in 1995 in the country.
"The virus in the Boende district is definitely not derived from the virus strain currently circulating in West Africa," WHO quoted the laboratory report as saying.
According to WHO, the outbreak is located in the remote Boende district, Equateur province in the north-western part of DRC, which marked the country's seventh Ebola outbreak since 1976.
The UN agency noted these findings are reassuring, as they exclude the possibility that the virus has spread from West to Central Africa.
To date, 53 cases have been identified with the case definition for Ebola virus disease, including 31 deaths. Seven of these deaths were among health care workers. More than 160 contacts are being traced.
The DRC government has rapidly mounted a robust response by reactivating emergency committees at national, provincial, and local levels, setting up isolation centers, and providing community leaders with facts about the disease.