DR Congo declares new Ebola outbreak

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DR Congo declares new Ebola outbreak

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) declared the 14th outbreak of Ebola virus after one confirmed case was reported in Mbandaka, a city in the DRC's northwestern Equateur Province, confirmed Saturday the World Health Organization (WHO) in a statement, reported Xinhua.

A positive case of Ebola virus disease has been reported in Wangata Health Zone of the Equateur province, confirmed Saturday DRC's Health Minister Jean-Jacques Mbungani.

The patient, a 31-year-old man, began experiencing symptoms on April 5 and after more than a week of care at home, sought treatment at a local health facility. On April 21, the patient was admitted to an Ebola treatment centre for intensive care but died later that day, said WHO's regional office for Africa, adding that investigations to determine the source of the outbreak are ongoing.

"Time is not on our side," said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa.

"The disease has had a two-week head start and we are now playing catch-up. 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," said Moeti.

DRC is experiencing its fourteenth Ebola outbreaks since 1976. The current outbreak is the sixth since 2018 alone, the most frequent occurrence in the country's Ebola history. Previous outbreaks in Equateur Province were in 2020 and 2018, with 130 and 54 recorded cases respectively, according to the WHO.

In December 2021, DRC has declared end of its 13th Ebola outbreak in which eight cases were confirmed and three probable, including six deaths in the northeastern North Kivu province.

"Many people in Mbandaka are already vaccinated against Ebola, which should help reduce the impact of the disease," said Dr Moeti. "All those who were vaccinated during the 2020 outbreak will be revaccinated."

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