Two dead in new Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo


The country announced a new outbreak of the disease last week following the death of a 31-year-old man diagnosed with the disease in Mbandaka, DRC’s northwestern Equateur province, after being ill for more than a week. His sister-in-law, a 25-year-old woman, was the second victim. She died on April 25.

“This is very sad news and we must continue to make all our efforts to save the lives of anyone who may have contracted the virus. At least 145 people have been listed as contacts so far,” said Dr. Fiona Braka, the emergency response team leader at the WHO Regional Office for Africa, said in a statement to CNN.

The WHO said investigations to determine the source of the current outbreak are underway. Since 2018, there have been three outbreaks of Ebola in Equateur province.

The woman began showing symptoms on April 13, Braka said, adding that “respondents have been working hard to find anyone who may have had contact with her while she was symptomatic and are closely monitoring their health.”

She was given a “safe and dignified funeral,” Braka added.

The first patient began showing symptoms on April 5 and sought treatment at a local health facility before being admitted to an Ebola treatment center for intensive care on April 21, the WHO said over the weekend. He died later that day, the organization confirmed.

“Time is not on our side,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa, Saturday.

“The disease has been two weeks ahead and we are now catching up. The good news is that health authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have more experience than anyone in the world in quickly getting Ebola outbreaks under control. “

Vaccines will be sent to Mbandaka and delivered through the ‘ring vaccination’ strategy – where contacts and contacts of contacts are vaccinated to contain the spread of the virus and protect lives.

The DRC has experienced a total of 13 Ebola outbreaks, including one that started in 2018 and claimed nearly 2,300 victims, according to the WHO.

The previous outbreaks in Equateur province were in 2020 when 130 cases were reported, and in 2018 when 54 cases were recorded, the WHO said.

Ebola is a serious disease, with death rates ranging from 25% to 90% in previous outbreaks, the WHO said. However, effective treatments are now available that improve survival rates.

“Many people in Mbandaka have already been vaccinated against Ebola, which should help reduce the impact of the disease,” says Moeti. “Everyone vaccinated during the 2020 outbreak will be revaccinated.”

The Central African country has had more Ebola outbreaks than any other country since the virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in the northern region of the DRC.

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