New Case Of Ebola In DRC Days Before Expected End Of Outbreak


There is a new case of Ebola in DRC. The case comes only days before the expected end of a 20-month outbreak. The country is now on high alert for both Ebola and COVID-19.

Confirming this on Friday, the World Health Organization said the country will now not declare an end to the outbreak.

The outbreak of Ebola in DRC started in August 2018. Since then, the nation has been battling the deadly and highly contagious virus.

This has been by far the largest outbreak of Ebola in DRC.

In joined efforts, the government of DRC together the with World Health Organization, has been on the ground fighting Ebola. Other humanitarian organizations have also been helping in this fight.

52 days of no Ebola

At the beginning of 2020, hope dawned as the number of new cases dwindled. As such, the nation was ready to be declared Ebola-free.

As is the norm, before an epidemic is declared over, there has to be a certain duration in which no new cases will be recorded.

This has been the case for DRC too which had to stay for at least 60 days with no new infections. For the last 52 days, there have been no new cases of Ebola in DRC.

As such, the government looked forward to declaring the nation Ebola-free. Only about eight days remained to this declaration.

Unfortunately, a new case of Ebola was reported on Friday. The case was from Beni town.

Located in eastern DRC, Beni town is right at the heart of the outbreak of Ebola in DRC.

We anticipated a new case of Ebola in DRC

On Thursday, a man had been taken to a hospital in the town only to die shortly after. He had gone to the hospital after developing symptoms a few days earlier.

The man, aged 26 years, was diagnosed as having died of the Ebola virus.

A statement released by a multisectoral committee set to respond to the epidemic has confirmed this.

According to the committee, there are teams on the ground already carrying out investigations. The teams would are also be carrying out the WHO recommended public health actions.

The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom has also confirmed this. According to him, they anticipated a new case of Ebola in DRC.

As such, the WHO teams in the country had not been removed yet. “We kept response teams in Beni and other high-risk regions precisely for this”, he says.

As part of the response to the new case, thousands of alerts are now being screened daily.

Unlicensed but tested vaccines

Alerts are persons who could be having Ebola-like symptoms. They may also mean deaths occurring in an Ebola high-risk zone. People who may have interacted with the man form Beni are now being investigated.

As of April 10, the outbreak of Ebola in DRC had resulted in at least 2276 deaths. More than 3400 people had been confirmed positive of the virus but had been treated and discharged.

According to health officials, the use of unlicensed but tested vaccines helped to quickly manage the outbreak. But unfortunately, the country will not be declared Ebola-free yet.

The new case presents a unique challenge for the country which is also battling the COVID-19 pandemic. How this rolls out remains to be seen.



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