Ebola virus spread
Health workers in protective gear wheel a stretcher into a hospital with one of two Spaniards who were repatriated from Liberia, shortly after their arrival in Madrid on August 7, 2014.Reuters

Around 10 people have died after developing Ebola-like symptoms in the Democratic Republic of Congo, officials have said.

Experts have now been sent to a remote area on the northern Equateur province to establish what is causing the deaths.

According to Reuters, the DRC has sent its health minister to the area. It is not clear if the disease is related to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, where over 1,200 people have died from the virus in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria.

One local said around 10 people have died, including four health care workers. Their symptoms included fever, diarrhoea and bleeding from the ears and nostrils.

Government spokesman Michel Wangi told the news agency: "An illness is spreading in Boende but we don't know the origin. The government has sent a team of experts from the INRB (National Institute of Biomedical Research) this morning led by the health minister Felix Kabange Numbi and acting governor Sebastian Impeto."

The team will be looking to establish the "exact nature" of the disease causing the deaths.

The last outbreak of Ebola in the DRC was in 2012, when 77 cases, including 36 deaths were reported. Prior to this, there was another outbreak in 2007 in a remote area of Kasai Occidental Province. During this outbreak, there were 249 suspected cases and 183 deaths.

According to Uganda's New Vision news website, health experts were monitoring the DRC after suspected cases of Ebola were reported in July.

Asuman Lukwago, secretary for the Ministry of Health said: "The suspected cases were in Aruu and other parts of northeastern Congo. We learnt Kinshasa was testing the samples."

"If Ebola is confirmed in Congo, we can send our team to work with the Congolese so that the disease is controlled from there."