DR Congo Reports New Ebola Outbreak: Health Minister

Henrietta Brewer
June 3, 2020

Earlier Monday, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted news that six cases had been reported in Mbandaka, in the country's northwest Equateur province.

The DRC and Uganda were the two countries hit by a renewed Ebola outbreak in 2018, two years since the Western African Ebola virus epidemic (2013-2016) had spread across West Africa, infecting 28,000 people worldwide and killing 11,323.

"UNICEF is working alongside the Government of DRC and all partners in the response to the Ebola epidemic by providing essential equipment, deploying community mobilizers, providing water and sanitation services, supporting orphans and other affected children", said UNICEF DRC Representative Edouard Beigbeder.

The fresh outbreak of the deadly Ebola was registered in Mbandaka, the capital of Équateur Province in the north-western part of the country.

"Four people have already died", Health Minister Eteni Longondo told a press conference, adding that the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) had confirmed that samples taken in the northwestern city of Mbandaka tested positive. The outbreak resulted in more than 3,000 infections and more than 2,000 deaths.

The virus is passed on by contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected or recently deceased person. Nine cases have so far been reported in total. "Given the proximity of this new outbreak to busy transport routes and vulnerable neighbouring countries we must act quickly", added DR Moeti.

The eastern Ebola outbreak is the second worst in history, after an epidemic in 2014 killed about 11,000 people - mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Congo has been struggling to put an end to a almost two-year-old Ebola outbreak near its eastern borders with Rwanda and Uganda, which has killed more than 2,200 people, the world's second-deadliest outbreak of the disease on record.

While Ebola and Covid-19 have drawn far more worldwide attention, measles has killed more Congolese than those diseases combined.

There is another Ebola outbreak in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo which has killed 2,280 people since August 2018, and had been hoped to be proclaimed over on June 25.

Five people have already died in Mbandaka, The New York Times reports.

In this Tuesday, July 16, 2019 file photo, health workers dressed in protective gear begin their shift at an Ebola treatment center in Beni, Congo. There has not been a new case in the past 21 days in that outbreak.

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