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WHO investigates reappearance of Ebola in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

WHO investigates reappearance of Ebola in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

WHO investigates reappearance of Ebola in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported today that it is helping the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to investigate the reappearance of Ebola in the northeast of the country, where a new case was confirmed last night.

Late on Friday, the Congolese Minister of Health, Jean-Jacques Mbungani, indicated that “the case concerns a 3-year-old male hospitalized and died on October 6” in the Butsili area, in the territory of Beni, located in the North Kivu province.

The WHO director for Africa, Matshidiso Moet, said in a statement that the UN agency “is supporting the health authorities in the investigation of the new case of Ebola.”

“North Kivu has been hit by Ebola outbreaks in recent years, but this has increased local experience and community awareness, paving the way for a rapid response,” Moeti emphasized.

According to the WHO, “it is not unusual for sporadic cases to occur after a major outbreak, but it is too early to say whether this case is related to previous outbreaks.”

Mbungani said last night that health teams “are already working intensively on the ground to carry out response activities, in particular the listing and monitoring of about 100 contacts to date and the decontamination of health centers.”

“Thanks to the experience acquired in the management of the Ebola virus disease in the preceding epidemics, we are sure that the response teams of the province, supported by the central Administration, will be able to control this epidemic as quickly as possible,” he stressed. the minister.

The existence of the new case was disclosed after the Ministry of Health declared on May 3 the end of the twelfth outbreak of Ebola in the country’s history, which caused twelve infections, six of them deceased, in North Kivu.

That last epidemic was declared on February 7 and brought together cases in the cities of Butembo, Byena, Katwa and Musienene, all in that province.

According to the WHO, that outbreak was related to the one that occurred in the eastern provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri between 2018 and 2020, the 10th Ebola epidemic in the DRC, which caused 2,299 deaths (according to the latest data from the UN agency).

That epidemic was the worst in the history of the DRC and the second most serious in the world, after the one that devastated West Africa from 2014 to 2016, in which 11,300 people died and there were more than 28,500 cases, although those figures – according to the WHO- can be conservative.

The eleventh Congolese outbreak took place between June and November 2020 in the northwestern province of Ecuador, where 130 infections were recorded, of which 55 ended in deaths and 75 were cured.

The Ebola disease, discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976 – then called Zaire – is transmitted by direct contact with the blood and body fluids of infected people or animals.

This fever causes severe bleeding and can reach a mortality rate of 90%. Its first symptoms are a sudden, high fever, severe weakness, and muscle, head, and throat pain, as well as vomiting.

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