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Jul 4, 2022

DR Congo declares 14th Ebola outbreak over

Foreign Affairs News Desk
Health worker sensitization in Motema Pembe area before households decontamination in Mbandaka. Image credit WB
Health worker sensitization in Motema Pembe area before households decontamination in Mbandaka. Image credit WB

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today declared the end of the Ebola outbreak that erupted less than three months ago in Mbandaka, the capital of Equateur Province in the northwest.

It was the third outbreak in the province since 2018 and the country’s 14th overall, as per the World Health Organization (WHO).

Although the outbreak has been declared over, health authorities are maintaining surveillance and are ready to respond quickly to any flare-ups. It is not unusual for sporadic cases to occur following an outbreak.

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever is a rare and deadly disease in human and nonhuman primates that can get EVD through direct contact with an infected animal (bat or nonhuman primate) or a sick or dead person infected with Ebola virus mainly in sub-Saharan Africa.

In Ebola control, national emergency teams, with the support from WHO and partners, mounted a swift response soon after the outbreak was declared on April 23, rolling out key counter measures including testing, contact tracing, infection prevention and control, treatment and community engagement. Vaccination was launched just four days after the outbreak was declared.

In all, there were four confirmed cases and one probable case – all of whom died. In the previous outbreak in Equateur Province that lasted from June to November 2020, there were 130 confirmed cases and 55 deaths, the UN health agency WHO stated.

The just ended outbreak saw a total of 2104 people vaccinated, including 302 contacts and 1307 frontline workers

The DR Congo has now recorded 14 Ebola outbreaks since 1976, six of which have occurred since 2018.