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DRC's 11th Ebola Outbreak Over - WHO

The outbreak that was centered in the Western part of the DRC is estimated to have infected 119 people and claimed the lives of 55 people.
The Ebola outbreak that claimed the lives of 55 people in the Western part of the Democratic Republic of Congo this year has been declared over by the World Health Organization.

 

The outbreak reported in June 2020, amidst the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic mainly infected people in the Equateur Province. It was the 11th Ebola outbreak that the country has suffered. 

 

The Ebola hemorrhagic fever is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads through human to human contact.  The outbreak in western DRC, came as another Ebola outbreak in the Eastern part of the country was winding down. Genetic sequencing analysis carried out on the two outbreaks found that they were unrelated.

  In a statement released today by the health agency, the WHO Africa regional director Dr Matshidiso Moeti says that news is evidence of what can happen when Science and unity mix.

“Overcoming one of the world’s most dangerous pathogens in remote and hard to access communities demonstrates what is possible when science and solidarity come together,"said Dr Moeti.  "Tackling Ebola in parallel with COVID-19 hasn’t been easy, but much of the expertise we’ve built in one disease is transferrable to another and underlines the importance of investing in emergency preparedness and building local capacity.”

Dr Moeti says the technology and support used to defeat the eleventh Ebola outbreak will play an instrumental role in the COVID-19 fight in the country. 

   

“The technology used to keep the Ebola vaccine at super-cold temperatures will be helpful when bringing a COVID-19 vaccine to Africa," explained Dr Moeti. "Vaccinators used an innovative cold chain storage to keep the Ebola vaccine at temperatures as low as -80 degrees Celsius. The ARKTEK freezers can keep vaccines at very low temperatures in the field for up to a week and enabled responders to vaccinate people in communities without electricity."

 

As of today, three vaccines have been reported to have an effect on the COVID-19 virus. Two of the vaccines- one from Pfizer and the other from Moderna all need to be kept at temperatures below zero degrees.

 

Dr Allan Muruta, the commissioner in charge of health emergencies at the ministry of health says that the news is welcome but Uganda will continue its ongoing surveillance.

“As a neighbor to Uganda, this is welcome news but we shall continue monitoring the situation along all border districts,” he said.

    A total of 119 confirmed cases and 75 recoveries were reported in the DRC during the outbreak. Over 40,000 people were vaccinated in the outbreak.

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