DR Congo’s officials confirmed another Ebola outbreak in the country’s east. As Time says, it the fourth outbreak in less than three years. This year, Ebola hits amid the covid-19 pandemic.
In Congo, on February 3, a woman died in Butembo town in North Kivu province, Minister of Health Eteni Longondo confirmed. The government has begun tracing everyone who came in contact with her to try to “eradicate the epidemic as soon as possible,” said the top medical official.
The Ebola virus was first hit Congo in 1976 and comes less than three months after an outbreak in the western province of Equateur. The current outbreak lasted for nearly two years and was fought amid unprecedented challenges, including entrenched conflict between armed groups, the world’s largest measles and COVID-19 epidemics.
Last year, the COVID-19 has stretched DRC’s health systems to the limit and this could put far greater strain on an already exasperated system. The Ebola pathogen can live in the semen of male survivors for more than three years, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Commenting on the latest developments in DR Congo, the World Health Organization said on Sunday it wasn’t unusual for sporadic cases to occur following a major outbreak and that previous Ebola responses were already making it easier to deal with this one.
“The expertise and capacity of local health teams has been critical in detecting this new Ebola case and paving the way for a timely response,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa.