DR Congo announces end to its 11th deadly Ebola outbreak

Democratic Republic of Congo declares Ebola outbreak over

Democratic Republic of Congo declares Ebola outbreak over

Equateur province was also the site of the country's ninth Ebola outbreak, which was overcome in a little over three months in 2018 and had half as many cases reported, World Health Organization said.

Health Minister Eteni Longondo made the announcement on Wednesday, almost 50 days after the last recorded case in the country.

According to UNICEF, Ebola is transmitted from sick or dead people or animals and causes fever, bleeding, weakness, and abdominal pain.

By the time the Equateur outbreak ended, it had 130 confirmed cases - 75 recoveries and 55 deaths.

Longondo called on the population to remain vigilant and continue to observe hygiene measures "to avoid the resurgence of Ebola but also to prevent the spread of coronavirus which is raging in the country".

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Guyguy Manangama, responsible for MSF in responding to the Ebola epidemic in Équateur province, explained that this lower lethality may be due to the existence of some type of natural immunity among people in the province, as this region has previously experienced outbreaks of Ebola.

The death rate is notoriously high, ranging up to 90 percent in some outbreaks, according to the WHO.

"Overcoming one of the world's most unsafe pathogens in remote and hard to access communities demonstrates what is possible when science and solidarity come together", said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's regional director for Africa. The ARKTEK freezers they used can keep vaccines in the field for up to a week and make it possible to vaccinate people in locations without electricity. Their actions come after three consecutive Red Cross responses since 2018 to the country's 910 and 11 Ebola outbreaks, bringing the total number of people reached with life-saving information to more than 4,892,531 million, with our teams leading more than 12,708 safe and dignified burials. "Combating Ebola in parallel with Covid-19 has not been easy, but much of the knowledge we have gained in one disease is applicable to the other, and underscore the importance of investing in emergency preparedness and increasing local capacity".

"The response to the 11th Ebola outbreak had to contend with the COVID-19 pandemic, which strained resources and created difficulties around the movement of experts and supplies". As Jacques Katshishi, head of the national Red Cross, the Congolese communities still heavily rely on support from the global fora, taking into account the current pandemic of COVID-19.

"This great achievement shows that together we can overcome any health challenge", Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director General, wrote in a tweet. This epidemic was the worst in the history of DR Congo, and the second most serious in the world, after the one that devastated West Africa from 2014 to 2016. "The time to prepare is now".

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