Congo-Kinshasa: Ebola – Congo Declares End of Latest Outbreak

The Democratic Republic of Congo said the latest outbreak of Ebola was over. It was the country’s 13th outbreak of the deadly disease.

Health officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo said Thursday that the country’s 13th outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus was over, and the country was facing no new cases for the last 42 days.

“I am happy to declare the end of the 13th epidemic of the Ebola virus disease,” said Jean-Jacques Mbungani, the health minister, in Kinshasa.

The outbreak was not detected as early as possible due to a health care workers strike in the area where the infections were reported, he added.

Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization (WHO) Africa director, told the AFP news agency: “During this outbreak, the Democratic Republic of Congo was able to limit widespread infections and save lives. Crucial lessons are being learned and applied with every outbreak experience.”

Moeti added, “Stronger disease surveillance, community engagement, targeted vaccination and prompt response are making for more effective Ebola containment in the region.”

What is Ebola?

Ebola is a viral hemorrhagic fever. Its main symptoms are fever, nausea, bleeding and diarrhea. It was identified initially in 1976 in central Africa and named for the nearby Ebola River at a time when the DR Congo was still known as Zaire.

Human-to-human transmission of Ebola occurs through bodily fluids.

What happened during the latest outbreak of Ebola in Congo?

The latest outbreak was first confirmed on October 8 when a boy, aged 3, died in Beni, North Kivu province in the eastern part of the country. Eight more cases of Ebola were then confirmed by health authorities in addition to three probable cases.

Over half of the cases of Ebola found were in children under five. Two were cured when they were given treatment that included the REGN-EB3 cocktail of monoclonal antibodies approved by the US Food and Drug Administration late last year.

Nine deaths occurred during the latest outbreak.

Contacts of the infected were vaccinated which helped contain the outbreak.

What occurred during previous outbreaks of Ebola in Congo?

Earlier this year in May, Congolese officials declared the end of the country’s 12th outbreak of the disease. In that outbreak, 12 cases were reported, six died and hundreds were vaccinated as a preventative measure.

The Ebola epidemic that plagued DR Congo from 2018 until 2020 resulted in the death of nearly 2,300 people in the same region. That outbreak exacted the second-highest death toll on record for an Ebola outbreak.

(AFP, Reuters)

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