Ebola Virus: WHO declares new Ebola outbreak as DR Congo records fresh case

HEALTHDIGEST– The World Health Organisation’s Africa office has declared an outbreak of Ebola after a 31-year-old man was diagnosed with the virus disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The case was confirmed in Mbandaka, a city in the north-western Equateur Province.

According to WHO, the latest discovery makes it the third outbreak in the province since 2018.

“So far, just one case has been confirmed. The patient, a 31-year-old man, began experiencing symptoms on 5 April and after more than a week of care at home, sought treatment at a local health facility.”

“On 21 April, the patient was admitted to an Ebola treatment centre for intensive care but died later that day. Having recognised the symptoms, health workers immediately submitted samples to test for Ebola virus disease,” said the UN agency in a statement issued on Saturday.

WHO, however, noted that investigations are ongoing to determine the source of the outbreak.

The WHO Africa Director, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said the disease has had a two-week head start, stressing the need for urgent action.

“Time is not on our side,” she said, adding that, “the positive news is that health authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have more experience than anyone else in the world at controlling Ebola outbreaks quickly.”

In addition to the government’s efforts, WHO said its experts are supporting the national authorities to “ramp up key outbreak response areas including testing, contact tracing, infection prevention and control, treatment as well as working with communities to support the public health measures to prevent infections. Also, vaccines will be sent to Mbandaka and administered through the ‘ring vaccination’ strategy, the agency announced.