4 die in new Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

Cheryl Sanders
June 2, 2020

"The announcement comes as a long, hard and complex Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is in its final phase, while the country also battles COVID-19 and the world's largest measles outbreak", WHO said in a statement.

Health Minister Eteni Longondo said four people who died in Mbandaka were confirmed as positive cases following testing at the national biomedical laboratory in the capital Kinshasa.

There have been three Ebola outbreaks since 2017 in Congo, which is now also battling a measles epidemic that has killed more than 6,700 people and the coronavirus pandemic, which infected more than 3,000 and killed 72.

The outbreak in the health zone around the city of Mbandaka comes as the globe battles the COVID-19 pandemic.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom confirmed the new case, saying it is a "reminder that COVID-19 is not the only health threat people face". He said the WHO's response was already underway.

The DRC is also fighting an outbreak of the new coronavirus, recording so far 3,195 infections - 2,896 in the capital, Kinshasa - and 72 deaths, according to the latest official figures.

"This is a province that has already experienced the disease".

Authorities were hoping to declare an end to the current outbreak in April with cases rapidly receding, but a flare-up in the east put that on hold. They know how to respond.

"To reinforce local leadership, World Health Organization plans to send a team to support scaling up the response", Moeti said.

The WHO also extended its Public Health Emergency of International Concern designation for the epidemic, which has mainly affected the North Kivu province.

The province was previously hit by an Ebola outbreak between May and July 2018, in which 33 people died and 21 recovered from the disease.

The country is also facing a measles outbreak which has killed more than 6,000 people since early previous year, as well as recurring flare-ups of cholera and malaria. Ebola, which is endemic to Africa's tropical rainforests, is transmitted only through contact with an infected person's bodily fluids and manifests as a hemorrhagic fever accompanied in severe cases by vomiting and extensive internal bleeding.

Bobo Boloko Bolumbu, governor of Equateur Province, urged residents to stay calm and "respect hygiene measures", the Independent reported.

Other reports by iNewsToday