DR Congo declares Ebola outbreak over

Ebola healthcare workers in the Eastern Congolese town of Beni in the Democratic Republic of Congo, October 8, 2019. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra/File Photo

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has declared the Ebola outbreak over, just three months after the first case was reported in North Kivu.

In a statement World Health Organization (WHO) stated, “today marks the end of the 12th Ebola outbreak in the DRC. The Ebola outbreak that re-emerged in February came nine months after another outbreak in the same province was declared over.”

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said, “huge credit must be given to the local health workers and the national authorities for their prompt response, tenacity, experience and hard work that brought this outbreak under control.

Although the outbreak has ended, we must stay alert for possible resurgence and at the same time use the growing expertise on emergency response to address other health threats the country faces.”

The outbreak was the country’s  fourth in less than three years.

Eleven confirmed cases and one probable case, six deaths and six recoveries were recorded in four health zones in North Kivu since February 7 when the Ministry of Health announced the resurgence of Ebola in Butembo, a city in North Kivu Province and one of the hotspots of the 2018–2020 outbreak.

Results from genome sequencing conducted by the country’s National Institute of Biomedical Research found that the first Ebola case detected in the outbreak was linked to the previous outbreak, but the source of infection is yet to be determined.

Nearly 2,000 people at high risk, including over 500 frontline workers, were vaccinated against the disease.

WHO says the 2018–2020 outbreak was the 10th in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the country’s deadliest, with 3481 cases, 2299 deaths and 1162 survivors.

The country also experienced its 11th outbreak which took place in Equateur Province last year.

Currently there is an ongoing Ebola outbreak in Guinea, which began in February 2021.