World

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The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has confirmed another Ebola outbreak in the country, as five DRC citizens have died in the last two weeks from the viral disease

PHOTO CREDITS: CARL THEUNIS/MSF

According to Unicef, the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has confirmed that Ebola has taken the lives of five DRC citizens in the last two weeks – including a 15 year-old girl. The government confirmed Monday that the deaths of five people between May 18th and 30th in Mbandaka, the capital of the Équateur Province in the north-western part of the country, were Ebola-related, and that four additional people who contracted the virus are currently being treated at a hospital in Mbandaka. The announcement of yet another Ebola outbreak in the African country comes during the final phases of the country’s lengthy recovery from the Ebola outbreak in the eastern part of the DRC, as well as the largest measles outbreak in the world and the COVID-19 pandemic. ~

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this new emerging outbreak is the DRC’s 11th Ebola outbreak since it was first discovered in 1976, where 318 patients were diagnosed with the virus and 88% of them died. Since the virus was first discovered, five strains of the Ebola Virus Disease have been detected, with the majority of cases and outbreaks of the virus occuring in Africa (CDC). The most recent major outbreak of the disease happened from 2014-2016, in which the Ebola outbreak began in West Africa in a rural setting of Southeastern Guinea, spread to urban cities and across borders in a matter of weeks, and became a global epidemic in a matter of months. The site of the DRC’s 9th Ebola outbreak, which took place from May to July of 2018, was also in the city of Mbandaka where the most recent cases have been reported. ~

The WHO is already working in Mbandaka to support the government’s response and containment of the Ebola outbreak, and is currently collecting and testing samples, performing contact tracing, and sending additional supplies from North Kivu and from Kinshasa to support the government-led response. Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, said Monday, “It’s happening at a challenging time, but WHO has worked over the last two years with health authorities, Africa CDC, and other partners to strengthen national capacity to respond to outbreaks.” ~

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