New Ebola outbreak reported in DR Congo

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A new Ebola case was been reported in Eastern DRC on February 3; Courtesy photo

A new Ebola case has been detected in Butembo DRC, one of the epicenters of the previous outbreak in eastern DRC.

The patient according to the World Health Organization (WHO) was the wife of an Ebola survivor. WHO said their epidemiologists are on ground supporting’s investigation and more than 70 contacts have already been tracked. The victim died on February 3, after which a sample of her blood tested positive for Ebola, the health ministry said.

The WHO’s Africa office said the woman had died in an area that had previously been one of the epicenters of the latest outbreak, near the town of Butembo.

In a statement, WHO said samples from contacts have been sent to the National Institute of Biomedical Research in Kinshasa, DRC for genome sequencing to determine link to the previous outbreak. It is not unusual for sporadic cases to occur following a major outbreak.

The new development comes barely months after the world’s second largest Ebola outbreak was declared over on 25 June 2020. The nearly two year long outbreak was particularly challenging because it took place in an active conflict zone.

By July 2020, WHO had reported a total of 3481 cases (3323 confirmed, 158 probable) of which 2299 people died and 1162 survived.

WHO however says the communities in DRC have developed enormous local capacity built in the previous outbreak, the North Kivu Provincial health authorities in DRC are leading the Ebola response with support from WHO.

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