By Elise Viebeck - 08/20/14 12:00 PM EDT
The Democratic Republic of Congo is investigating potential evidence of the Ebola virus there, a sign that the deadly illness may have spread to a fifth country.
Congo's health minister and a team of experts were sent to a northern province after a group of locals died from a sickness that resembled Ebola, sources told Reuters on Wednesday.
The World Health Organization and its U.S. partners have struggled so far to contain the virus in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
Ebola causes massive internal hemorrhaging and has no cure or vaccine. The supply of promising experimental treatments is low, making containment the primary goal of global health officials.
A spokesman for the governor of Congo's Equateur province told Reuters he could not confirm that the deaths were from Ebola.
A local resident said about 10 people had died after experiencing flu-like symptoms and bleeding from the face.
Meanwhile, in Liberia's capital of Monrovia, soldiers clashed with protesters rallying against quarantines designed to hamper the virus's spread.
U.S. officials have stepped up their efforts to protect travelers from the disease. No cases of Ebola appear to have arrived undetected in the United States.