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Congo declares end of Ebola outbreak that killed six people

Congo declared its 13th outbreak of Ebola on October 8 in Beni in the east of the country, prompting fears of a repeat of the 2018-2020 epidemic. File image.
Congo declared its 13th outbreak of Ebola on October 8 in Beni in the east of the country, prompting fears of a repeat of the 2018-2020 epidemic. File image.
Image: World Health Organisation AFRO/Otto B

Authorities in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Thursday declared the end of an Ebola outbreak that emerged in early October in North Kivu province and infected 11 people, killing six of them.

Congo declared its 13th outbreak of the disease on October 8 in Beni in the east of the country, prompting fears of a repeat of the 2018-2020 epidemic that killed nearly 2,300 people in the same region, the second-highest toll recorded in the history of the disease.

“My warm congratulations to health workers in the health zone of Beni who have suspended their strike movement to cope with this epidemic,” health minister Jean-Jacques Mbungani told a news briefing.

The virus, which causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea and is spread through contact with body fluids, was first discovered near the Ebola River in 1976.

Health authorities vaccinated more than 1,800 people using Merck’s recently licensed Ervedo vaccine, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

“During this outbreak, the DRC was able to limit widespread infections and save lives. Crucial lessons are being learned and applied with every outbreak experience,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Africa director.

“Stronger disease surveillance, community engagement, targeted vaccination and prompt responses are making for more effective Ebola containment in the region,” Moeti said.

The WHO said its personnel were accompanied by a sexual health expert to help prevent inappropriate and abusive behaviour after a damning report in September on a sexual assault scandal that has engulfed it and other aid agencies.

More than 80 aid workers, a quarter of whom were employed by the WHO, were involved in sexual abuse and exploitation during the 2018-2020 outbreak.

Reuters


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