After Measles and Coronavirus, Congo Hit by Second Wave of Ebola Outbreak

A few weeks ago, Congo almost overcame the Ebola virus. Now, the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is combating with three outbreaks at once – coronavirus, measles, and the second wave of Ebola outbreak.

There has been a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease is occurring in Wangata health zone, Mbandaka, in Équateur province. There have been six Ebola cases so far in Wangata, of which four have died.

After Measles and Coronavirus, Kongo is Hit by Second Wave of Ebola Outbreak

Image: UNICEF DRC

The re-emergence of Ebola in Équateur comes just as DRC was approaching the end of the present outbreak in the eastern part f the country, which has killed 2,134 people and infected 3,317. Ebola has a mortality rate between 50 percent and 60 percent but can be as high as 78 percent among children under five.

Four additional people who contracted the virus — all contacts of the deceased and including the child of one of the fatal cases — are being treated in an isolation unit at the Wangata Hospital in Mbandaka…The deaths occurred between the 18th and 30th of May but they were only confirmed as Ebola-related yesterday.

UNICEF said in a statement.

The announcement comes as a long, difficult, and complex Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo is in its final phase, while the country is also fighting COVID-19 and the world’s largest measles outbreak.

This is a reminder that COVID-19 is not the only health threat people face. Although much of our attention is on the pandemic, WHO is continuing to monitor and respond to many other health emergencies.

Said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Also Read: Congo Recovered from Ebola Outbreak and Another Case Emerged

This is the country’s 11th outbreak of Ebola since the virus was first discovered in the country in 1976. The city of Mbandaka and its surrounding area were the site of Congo’s 9th Ebola outbreak, which was dominant from May to July 2018.

After Measles and Coronavirus, Kongo is Hit by Second Wave of Ebola Outbreak

Image: Aljazeera

According to the World Health Organisation, the country is still struggling to end an outbreak that started in 2018 in the eastern part of the country, in which 3,406 cases have been reported, with 2,243 deaths.

The central African country has reported 3,195 cases of coronavirus and 72 deaths. By far the worst epidemic affecting the country is measles, which has infected nearly 370,000 people and killed 6,779 since 2019.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is still struggling to end an outbreak that started in 2018 in the eastern part of the country, in which 3,406 cases have been reported, with 2,243 deaths, according to WHO.
There has not been a new case in the past 21 days in that outbreak. Because Ebola has an incubation period of 21 days, that suggests the outbreak may be under control but WHO waits for two full incubation periods, or 42 days, to be sure before determining that an outbreak has ended.

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. To reinforce local leadership, WHO plans to send a team to support scaling up the response. Given the proximity of this new outbreak to busy transport routes and vulnerable neighboring countries we must act quickly.

Said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

The recent 10th outbreak of Ebola, in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri Provinces, is in its final stages. On 14 May 2020, the Ministry of Health began the 42-day countdown to the declaration of the end of that outbreak.

By large, the largest epidemic of Ebola was in 2014-2016 in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Over 28,000 people were infected in that epidemic and more than 11,000 of them died.

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