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Latest deadly Ebola virus outbreak in DR Congo declared over

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The twelfth Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was officially declared over on Monday, just three months after the first case was reported in North Kivu, but marks the end of the fourth outbreak of the deadly disease in the country in less than three years, said the World Health Organization (WHO).

NEW YORK, USA, May 4, 2021, – / African Media Agency (AMA) / – The virus, an often fatal disease spread through contact with bodily fluids, which kills, on average, about half of those infected – resurfaced in February, nine months after another outbreak in the same province was declared over.

In a press release, WHO congratulated DRC health authorities and health workers “on the ground for their swift response, which was based on the country’s previous experience in fighting Ebola outbreaks.” .

Eleven confirmed cases and one probable case resulting in 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.

The results of genome sequencing carried out by the country’s National Institute for Biomedical Research found that the first case of Ebola detected in the outbreak was related to the previous outbreak, but the source of infection has not yet been determined.

‘Big credit’ for local workers

“Great credit should be given to local health workers and national authorities for their prompt response, tenacity, experience and hard work that managed to control this outbreak,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “Although the outbreak is over, we must remain vigilant for a possible resurgence while using the growing experience in emergency response to address other health threats facing the country.”

The response was coordinated by the Provincial Department of Health in collaboration with WHO and its partners.

With nearly 60 experts on the ground, WHO helped local workers trace contacts as soon as the outbreak was declared, providing treatment, involving communities and vaccinating nearly 2,000 high-risk people, including more than 500 first-rate workers. line.

“Today’s declaration of the end of the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a testament to the professionalism, sacrifices and collaboration of hundreds of true health heroes, in particular the Congolese first responders,” said the head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. in a statement issued later Monday. “The World Health Organization is committed to helping national and local authorities, and the people of North Kivu, prevent the return of this deadly virus and promote the general health and well-being of all communities at risk.”

Insecurity factor

The response was often hampered by insecurity due to armed groups in the troubled region, near the Ugandan border, and social unrest, according to the WHO, “which at times limited the movement of first responders.”

There were also concerns about the possible cross-border spread of the outbreak. However, due to the effective response, the outbreak was contained in North Kivu province.

“While the 12th outbreak is over, it is necessary to continue to monitor and maintain a strong surveillance system, as possible outbreaks may occur in the coming months,” WHO said.

It is important to continue sustained surveillance of the disease, monitoring alerts and working with communities to detect and respond quickly to any new cases, and WHO will continue to assist health authorities in their efforts to quickly contain a sudden recurrence. Ebola, the UN added the health agency.

COVID, measles, cholera

WHO continues to work with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to combat other public health problems such as measles and cholera outbreaks and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest WHO figures show more than 22,000 cases and 144 deaths attributable to the coronavirus.

The 2018-2020 outbreak 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.

An ongoing Ebola outbreak also broke out in Guinea, West Africa, beginning in February.

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