DRC to announce end of Ebola outbreak in eastern region – WHO

Ebola health workers in Congo
Ebola health workers in Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is expected to announce the end of the Ebola outbreak in its eastern region on Thursday, the World Health Organisation has said.

The outbreak is the tenth of its kind reported in the country and has plagued the nation for almost two years.

“In total there have been almost 3500 cases, almost 2300 deaths, and almost 1200 survivors from the tenth outbreak,” WHO said.

The UN health agency during a press briefing in Geneva on Wednesday said the development was possible due to the “service and sacrifice” of thousands of Congolese health workers who worked in partnership with colleagues from the WHO.

WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said several health measures implemented in combating the Ebola epidemic are now crucial in suppressing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apart from the Ebola outbreak, DRC is battling a measles outbreak of more than 300,000 cases and more than 6,000 deaths since 2019.

The country is also facing the COVID-19 pandemic, with 6,213 confirmed cases and 142 deaths as of June 25.

Mr Ghebreyesus said “finding every case, isolating every case, testing every case, caring for every case and relentless contact tracing.

“These are the measures that must remain the backbone of the response in every country. There are no short-cuts.”

Mr Ghebreyesus said “WHO is proud to have worked under the leadership of the government of the DRC to bring this outbreak under control.”

Ebola is a viral haemorrhagic fever of humans and it has become endemic in the DRC. The country has had 10 outbreaks in 40 years and has recently declared the 11th.

Not over

While the news of the end of the outbreak will be a welcome one, Ebola and COVID-19 are not the only health threats facing the DR Congo and other low and middle income nations, Mr Ghebreyesus has said.

The DRC still has to deal with a new outbreak in Mbandaka, the capital of Equateur province.

The outbreak was announced on May 31 and is the country’s 11th outbreak since the virus was discovered near the Ebola River in 1976.

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At least 13 people have died in that outbreak, according to DRC authorities.


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