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DR Congo has declared the end of its 14th Ebola outbreak

The Democratic Republic of Congo announced this Monday (4) the end of the Ebola outbreak that reached Mbandaka, the capital of Equateur province in the north-west of the country, three months ago. This was the third outbreak in the state since 2018 and the 14th in the country.

Efforts to control the disease allowed national emergency response teams, supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners, to respond quickly after the outbreak was announced on April 23.

Combative measures such as testing, contact tracing, infection prevention and control, treatment and community engagement have been implemented. Vaccination started four days after the outbreak was announced.

There were a total of four confirmed cases and one probable case, all of whom died. During the previous outbreak in Equatorial Guinea, which lasted from June to November 2020, there were 130 confirmed cases and 55 deaths.

During this outbreak, 2,104 people were vaccinated, including 302 contacts and 1,307 frontline workers. To facilitate the implementation of vaccinations, a special refrigerated refrigerator was installed in Mbandaka, which allowed vaccine doses to be safely stored on site and delivered efficiently.

Increase in flare-ups

There have been 14 Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1976, six of which have occurred since 2018.

“Ebola and other infectious diseases that jump from animals to humans are on the rise in Africa, affecting large urban areas,” WHO Africa Regional Director Matshidiso Moeti said in a statement.

“We need to be more vigilant to ensure that we detect cases quickly. The response to this outbreak shows that by strengthening preparedness, disease control and rapid detection, we can stay one step ahead.”

Although the outbreak in Mbandaka has been declared over, health officials remain vigilant. According to the WHO, it is not uncommon for sporadic cases to occur after an outbreak.

About Ebola

The disease caused by the virus, which affects humans and other primates, is serious and often fatal. Mortality rates in previous outbreaks have ranged from 25% to 90%.

With effective treatments now available, patients have a significantly better chance of survival if they are treated and supported early.

Ebola virus belongs to the filovirus family, and there are at least five types of Ebola virus that differ in their ability to cause illness and death.

The virus was described in 1976 following an epidemic of outbreaks in the Zaire region (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and southern Sudan. To date, the microorganism has caused outbreaks on the African continent.

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