Africa

Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared over

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Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared over

Today marks the end of the 12th Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, just three months after the first case was reported in North Kivu. The Ebola outbreak that resurfaced in February came nine months after another outbreak in the same province was declared over.

The World Health Organization (WHO) commends the DRC health authorities and field health workers for their rapid response which builds on the country’s previous experience in combating disease outbreaks. ‘Ebola. This epidemic is the country’s fourth in less than three years.

Eleven confirmed cases and one probable case, six deaths and six recoveries have been recorded in four health zones in North Kivu since February 7 when the Ministry of Health announced the resurgence of Ebola in Butembo, a town in the province. North Kivu and one of the hot spots of the 2018-2020 epidemic. The results of genome sequencing conducted by the country’s National Biomedical Research Institute revealed that the first Ebola case detected in the outbreak was linked to the previous outbreak, but the source of the infection was not yet been determined.

“Great credit must be given to local health workers and national authorities for their rapid response, tenacity, experience and hard work that brought this outbreak under control,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, regional director of the WHO for Africa. “Although the epidemic is over, we must remain vigilant for a possible resurgence and at the same time use the growing expertise in emergency response to address the other health threats facing the country.”

The response was coordinated by the Provincial Department of Health in collaboration with WHO and its partners. WHO had nearly 60 experts in the field and, as soon as the outbreak was declared, helped local workers trace contacts, provide treatment, engage communities and vaccinate nearly 2,000 people at high risk, including more than 500 frontline officers.

The response was often hampered by insecurity caused by armed groups and social unrest which sometimes limited the movement of responders. The area where the epidemic has taken place is where the population is highly mobile, as people move to do business or visit family and friends. The town of Butembo is about 150 km from the Ugandan border and concerns have been expressed about the potential cross-border spread of the epidemic. However, due to the effective response, the outbreak remained limited to North Kivu province.

As the 12th outbreak is over, there is a need to remain vigilant and maintain a strong surveillance system, as potential outbreaks are possible in the months to come. It is important to continue continuous disease surveillance, alert tracking and working with communities to detect and respond quickly to any new cases and WHO will continue to support health authorities in their efforts to quickly contain a sudden resurgence. Ebola.

WHO continues to work with the Democratic Republic of the Congo to address other public health issues such as measles and cholera outbreaks, the COVID-19 pandemic and a weak health system.

The 2018-2020 epidemic was the 10th in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the deadliest in the country, with 3,481 cases, 2,299 deaths and 1,162 survivors. The country also experienced its 11th outbreak which took place in Equateur province last year.

Currently, an Ebola outbreak is underway in Guinea, which began in February this year.

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