On Thursday, the DR Congo government officially declared an end to an Ebola epidemic that broke out in the east about the troubled country in August 2018 and continued to claim 2,277 lives.
The outbreak was “the longest, most complex and deadliest” in the 60-year history of the Democratic Republic of Congo, said Health Minister Eteni Longondo.
It has only been surpassed by the Ebola epidemic in 2013-16 in West Africa that killed 11,300 people.
On June 1, when the epidemic in the east subsided, a new outbreak – the DRK’s 11th since Ebola was identified in 1976 – was announced in the country’s northwest.
For an outbreak to be official, no new cases need to be reported for 42 days, which is twice the incubation time of the deadly hemorrhagic microbe.
The eastern outbreak was just three days from reaching the finish line in April when a new case was reported. Further cases meant that the clock was restarted on May 14.
The World Health Organization (WHO) responded with pleasure to Thursday’s announcement.
“# Ebola outbreak in #DRC is OVER! The WHO congratulates everyone involved in this tough and often dangerous work to end the almost two-year outbreak, ”it says on Twitter.
The epidemic in the east was declared by the WHO in July 2019 to be a public health crime of international concern – a move that is increasing international support – given that the center is close to Rwanda and Uganda.
The most affected area was North Kivu, a province affected by militant killings and ethnic violence.
“Chronic insecurity” helped make the epidemic “very complex,” Longondo said.
Eleven workers and patients were killed, says the UN.
Two experimental vaccines were introduced to help roll back the disease. More than 320,000 people received the job.
.@DrTedros: “The #Ebola calm was a victory for science. The rapid rollout of highly effective vaccines saved lives and slowed the spread of Ebola. For the first time, the world now has a licensed Ebola vaccine. “
– WHO African Region (@WHOAFRO) June 25, 2020
The Ebola virus is transmitted through contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected or recently deceased person.
It has a natural container in nature, which is believed to be a bat species.
The death toll is usually high and varies up to 90 percent in some outbreaks, according to the WHO.
The outbreak of the Northwest, about a thousand kilometers (600 miles) away from it in the east, is focused on Mbandaka, a transport hub on the Congo River in the province of Equateur.
According to WHO, it has claimed 13 lives out of 24 cases.
Equateur was previously hit by Ebola between May and July 2018. Thirty-three people died.