Congo declares end to Ebola outbreak in eastern province

Congo declares end to Ebola outbreak in eastern province

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Democratic Republic of Congo has declared the end of its latest Ebola virus outbreak in the eastern province of North Kivu, Health Minister Jean-Jacques Mbungani Mbanda said in a statement on Tuesday.

The fifteenth outbreak in the central African country emerged when a new case of the deadly virus was confirmed in the eastern city of Beni on Aug. 22.

Testing showed the case was genetically linked to the 2018-2020 outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, which killed nearly 2,300 people.

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Another flare-up from that outbreak killed six people last year.

“After 42 days of reinforced surveillance without a new confirmed case… I am happy to solemnly declare the end of the 15th epidemic… that lasted one month and 12 days,” Mbungani Mbanda said.

A medical worker vaccinates a resident against the Ebola virus in North Kivu province, northeast of Democratic Republic of the Congo, on March 21, 2021. 
(Alain Uaykani/Xinhua via Getty)

Congo’s dense tropical forests are a natural reservoir for the Ebola virus, which causes fever, body aches, and diarrhoea.

The country has recorded 14 outbreaks since 1976. The 2018-2020 outbreak in the east was Congo’s largest and the second largest ever recorded, with nearly 3,500 total cases.

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Congo’s most recent outbreak was in northwest Equateur province. It was declared over in July after five deaths.

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