The health ministry of the Democratic Republic of Congo has confirmed that there has been a new outbreak of Ebola. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), six cases of the highly contagious haemorrhagic fever have been noticed and five people have died as of today near Mbandaka, the regional capital of Équateur Province.
Their Health Minister, Eteni Longondo, confirmed a new case of the dangerous virus in a province to the west of Equateur. That is around 1,000 km away from the already existing outbreak of the virus in the east. There was a brief moment in April when it looked like the virus had died down. But just three days before WHO was going to declare the end of the epidemic, a new set of cases was identified.
The cases in Équateur are believed to be totally different and mark the eleventh Ebola spurt in the country since the disease was first recognized in 1976. A new surge of Ebola cases could prove to be a major setback to Congo, as they’re struggling to contain Covid-19, along with battling the world’s largest measles outbreak ever.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, tweeted that the WHO already has enough staffing in Mbandaka to assist the locals during the outbreak, “This outbreak is a reminder that Covid-19 is not the only health threat people face. WHO is continuing to monitor and respond to any health emergencies,” he said. WHO added, “It is crucial to maintain a strong and robust surveillance system in order to detect, isolate, test and treat new suspected cases as early as possible and to break possible chains of transmission.”
The Telegraph reported that the governor of the Equateur province, Bobo Boloko Bolumbu, also confirmed the deaths on local radio. He said: “The laboratory has given us the information that all the deaths analysed since the 18th of May are a consequence of the Ebola virus. However, for precision, the samples have been sent to the INRB for quality control.” “I ask the population to be calm and continue to respect hygiene measures. Regularly wash your hands with soap. Don’t say greet with your hands. Don’t touch ill or dead people who had a fever or bleeding,” he added.
The last the Equateur region had seen of the cases of Ebola, was in May of 2018, when the outburst flared in the pastoral area of Bikoro and circulated to the city of Mbandaka.
Inputs from Yukta Baid