Authorities in the Republic of Congo (search) have quarantined two northwestern districts hit by the deadly Ebola (search) virus to ensure the highly contagious disease does not spread, officials said Friday.

The two districts — Etoumbi, where eight deaths were recorded, and Mbomo, where a ninth person died — were sealed off Wednesday, said Dr. Amedee Moulamou of the World Health Organization.

"The quarantine on these two districts will only be lifted once the epidemic is completely under control," Moulamou said, adding that no new cases had been reported in a week.

The government also said it was sending food Friday to some 15,000 residents of Etoumbi and Mbomo, who have been confined to their homes with little food since the quarantine began.

Ebola is a hemorraghic fever transmitted through direct contact with body fluids of infected persons or other primates. There is no cure, and between 50 percent and 90 percent of victims die.

Last year, 120 people died of Ebola in the same Cuvette region, bordering Gabon.

Ebola generally kills rapidly and has so far afflicted remote regions of Africa, meaning the disease often burns out before spreading great distances.