The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have officially released the health emergency and announced today that a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease is occurring in the northwest Wangata health zone, Mbandaka, in Équateur province.
Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the sad announcement has brought fear and anxiety all over the country, difficult and complex Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is in its final phase, while the country also battles COVID-19 and the world’s largest measles outbreak. According to mapping, new outbreaks of Ebola are expected in the Democratic Republic of the Congo given the existence of the virus in an animal reservoir in many parts of the country.
Fear starts to flow and citizens are more anxious than ever. With the continuous threat of deadly virus, strict implementations of community quarantine. The Ministry of Health have released the initial information from is that six Ebola cases have so far have been detected in Wangata. With the six cases, four have died and two are alive and under care and three of these six cases have been confirmed with laboratory testing. It is likely more people will be identified with the disease as surveillance activities increase and strict medical and precautions will be implemented.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said “This is a reminder that COVID-19 is not the only health threat people face, although much of our attention is on the pandemic, WHO is continuing to monitor and respond to many other health emergencies.”
Consequently, this is the 11th outbreak of Ebola since the virus was first discovered in the country in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The city of Mbandaka and its surrounding area were the sites of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 9th Ebola outbreak, which took place from May to July 2018. The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 10th outbreak of Ebola, in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri provinces, is in its final stages. On 14 May 2020, the Ministry of Health began the 42-day countdown to the declaration of the end of that outbreak.
Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa stated “It’s happening at a challenging time, but WHO has worked over the last two years with health authorities, Africa CDC and other partners to strengthen national capacity to respond to outbreaks,”
“To reinforce local leadership, WHO plans to send a team to support scaling up the responses. Given the proximity of this new outbreak to busy transport routes and vulnerable neighbouring countries we must act quickly.” he also added.
The World Health Organization surges team supporting the response of the new Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo. WHO is already on the ground in Mbandaka supporting the response to this outbreak, as part of capacity built during the 2018 outbreak. The team supported the collection and testing of samples, and reference to the national laboratory for confirmation. For rapid identification of possible cases, the contact tracing is being executed to prevent further spread of Ebola virus. Additional resources is ongoing to send additional supplies from North Kivu and from Kinshasa to support the government-led response. And about 25 people to expand the human resources are expected to arrive in Mbandaka tomorrow. Without further amount of hesitation, WHO is also working to ensure that essential health services are provided to communities despite these emergency events.
Below are the figures of health emergency rundown of the country:
Measles in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Since 2019: 369 520 measles cases and 6779 deaths have been reported.
Recent Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- 11th outbreak: Mbandaka, Équateur province.
- Ongoing. Declared on 1 June 2020.
- 6 cases (3 confirmed, 3 probable). Of those, 4 people died and 2 are alive
- 10th outbreak: North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri provinces
- Ongoing. Declared on 1 August 2018.
- 3463 cases (3317 confirmed and 146 probable). Of these, 2280 people died and 1171 survived.
- 9th outbreak: Mbandaka, Équateur province.
- Declared on 8 May 2018 and ended on 24 July 2018.
- 54 cases (38 confirmed and 16 probable). Of those, 33 died and 21 survived.