Two Ebola deaths have been confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo where 13 others have died recently, prompting the health minister to declare an Ebola epidemic in one of the affected regions of the central African country.

Minister Felix Kabange Numbi said that two of eight samples from the northwest Equateur province came back positive for Ebola, reports AP.

The minister said 11 people were sick and in isolation and that 80 contacts were being traced.

"I declare an Ebola epidemic in the region of Djera, in the territory of Boende in the province of Equateur," Numbi said.

Officials now believe Ebola has killed 13 people in the region, including five health workers.

However, this appears to be a strain of the virus different from the one that has claimed over 1400 lives in west Africa.

One of the cases tested positive was for the Sudanese strain of the disease, while the other was a mixture of the Sudanese and the Zaire strain, the health official said.

The Zaire strain is the one responsible for the current West African epidemic.

The confirmations follows local reports of a 'mysterious' haemorrhagic fever, which claimed the lives of 13 people. Those tested positive come from a region where an outbreak of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis has killed 70 people in recent weeks, said WHO.

Congo has been hit by Ebola outbreaks seven times before.

The latest Ebola epidemic in west Africa has resulted in 2615 cases and 1427 deaths.
Sierra Leone has been hit the hardest with at least 910 cases and 392 deaths. Other affected countries include Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has recorded fresh cases of Ebola infection, Minister of Health Onyebuchi Chukwu said. The new cases are spouses of health workers who had primary contacts with the index case, Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-American, who brought the virus to Africa's most populous country.