Thursday, 02 July, 2020

Congo announces end of Ebola outbreak in east, second deadliest on record

Congo End to Ebola Congo End to Ebola
Gustavo Carr | 28 June, 2020, 23:10

The outbreak was "the longest, most complex and deadliest" in the 60-year history of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Health Minister Eteni Longondo said.

But new Ebola outbreaks are to be expected given the existence of the virus in animals in many parts of DR Congo, the World Health Organization says.

It was the 10th Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the most severe there since 1976, when scientists first identified the virus near the eponymous Ebola River.

The CDC said that the DRC is dealing with a fresh Ebola outbreak in the Equateur Province, which occurred back on June 1.

There were 3,463 cases confirmed and probable cases recorded over the course of the outbreak in eastern Congo, including 2,277 deaths, Longondo said.

The DRC grappled with the world's second-largest Ebola epidemic on record, with more than 2,200 lives lost and 3,400 confirmed infections since the outbreak was declared on August 1, 2018, according to the WHO.

Only the epidemic in West Africa in 2013-2016 had claimed more victims.

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Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said that Ebola took its toll on many, especially the people of the DRC, but valuable lessons were learnt.

"We should celebrate this moment, but we must resist complacency".

Just when the country was just days away from declaring victory over Ebola, six new cases were reported in May.

It can also spread through contact with body fluids of infected people, or of those who have succumbed to the virus. "Ultimately, the best defense against any outbreak is investing in a stronger health system as the foundation".

Moeti said there are many lessons that have been learned from overcoming Ebola that can be used in the fight against Covid-19.

"Today is the greatest day", Dr. Deogratious Wonya'rossi, a Congolese public health physician who was part of the Ebola response in the east, told ABC News in a text message Thursday.

The ADF has been blamed for killing about 500 people since previous year in retaliation for an army crackdown on their bases in the forests around the Beni region.