Congo declares new Ebola epidemic, 1,000 km from eastern outbreak

COVID-19 Congo declares new Ebola epidemic 1,000 km from eastern outbreak

By Reuters• 1 June 2020

The World Health Organisation has announced a new outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Health Minister Eteni Longondo said at a press briefing that samples from the city tested positive for Ebola, according to the AFP news agency.

The resurfacing of Ebola in Équateur comes just as DRC was approaching the end of the current outbreak in the eastern part of the country, which has killed 2,134 people and infected 3,317.

"WHO already has staff in Mbandaka supporting the new Ebola outbreak response", Tedros wrote on Twitter.

Mbandaka, a city of more than 1 million along the Congo River, is the scene of the outbreak.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization made the revelation in a tweet on Monday.

This announcement marks the 11th time that Ebola has hit the province since the virus was first discovered in Congo in 1976.

'This is a province that has already experienced the disease.

The last known patient in Congo's eastern outbreak was released in mid-May but the country now must go about another month without any new cases before an official end to the outbreak can be declared. They know how to respond. Mbandaka is 1,000 km (620 miles) from an ongoing outbreak that has killed over 2,200 people in North Kivu province by the Uganda border, where containment efforts have been hampered by armed conflict.

"Given the proximity of this new outbreak to busy transport routes and vulnerable neighboring countries, we must act quickly", Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said in a statement.

The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency of worldwide concern in July 2019, after the highly contagious virus threatened to spread to the large city of Goma and neighbouring countries. They started the response at the local level yesterday (Sunday),' Longondo said.

The Ebola virus causes hemorrhagic fever and is spread through direct contact with body fluids from an infected person, who suffers severe vomiting and diarrhoea.

Officials had hoped to be able to proclaim the outbreak over on June 25.

No coronavirus cases have been reported in Equateur province.

The country is also facing a measles outbreak which has killed more than 6,000 people since early a year ago, as well as recurring flare-ups of cholera and malaria.



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