Ebola virus breaks out in DRC as country battles with COVID-19

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recorded three new cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Thursday, April 16, 2020

/ by Joe Adams
Ebola Virus 
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recorded three new cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

After 52 days of not recording a case in the country, WHO confirmed a new case last Friday and 3 fresh cases on Thursday, April 16.

Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, disclosed this in a statement issued from the agency’s headquarters in Geneva and posted on its website.

“Three new cases have been confirmed – two people who died in the community and one person who was in contact with one of them.

“The source of their infection is still under investigation.

“Additional cases will likely be identified. Flare-ups are expected at the tail-end of Ebola outbreaks.

“Our teams in Beni are experienced in responding to new cases and acted quickly to engage with affected communities, investigate alerts, identify and vaccinate contacts, decontaminate affected homes and health facilities, and send samples for sequencing,’’ he said.

Ghebreyesus said the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee for Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) had met and advised him.

He said their view on the Ebola outbreak in the DRC was that “it continued to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and I have accepted that advice.

“Tremendous progress has been made containing this outbreak in very difficult circumstances.

“Up until Friday, 54 days had passed without a confirmed case being reported, and 40 days had passed since the last person known to have Ebola tested negative and was discharged from treatment.

“The Committee noted that armed groups are active in the area where these cases were identified, a lack of funding is constraining the response and the COVID-19 pandemic is adding more challenges to an already complex operation.

“We have to anticipate and be prepared for additional small outbreaks.

“We need the full force of all partners to bring these outbreaks under control and to meet the needs of the people affected,’’ Ghebreyesus said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Health in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has reported the country’s first case of COVID-19. Health authorities said tests found that a Congolese national, who had recently returned to Kinshasa from his residence in France had tested positive for the virus.

The DRC is one of eleven countries in Africa to have confirmed a case of COVID-19. The other countries are: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia. This comes as the country’s largest Ebola outbreak appears to be winding down, with no new cases of the disease confirmed in the past 21 days.

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