Major victory for DR Congo, and Africa as on Tuesday the country officially declared the end of an outbreak of Ebola, bringing the curtain down on a 10-week re-emergence of the disease which claimed 33 lives.
“After an observation period of 42 days during which no new confirmed cases have been observed, and in conformity with international health regulations, I declare today, July 24 2018, that the epidemic of Ebola virus disease in province in the Democratic Republic of Congo has come to an end,”
Health Minister Oly Ilunga said in a statement. The outbreak — the ninth in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1976 — began in the remote northwestern area of Bikoro, where the first cases were recorded on May 8.
The news triggered a wave of international concern, which heightened after cases emerged in the city of Mbandaka, a city and transport hub on the Congo River with a population of more than a million.
For many experts, that ranked among worst-case scenarios — contagious disease in an urban setting is far harder to contain than in the countryside, especially in a poor country with a fragile health system. The same strain of the highly contagious disease struck the West African states of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2013-15, killing more than 11,300 people.
“In total, after verification, the national coordinating committee recorded 54 cases (of Ebola), comprising 33 deaths and 21 survivors,” Ilunga’s statement said.
A previous toll, issued by the ministry on July 20, had said 29 people had died.
The countdown to declare the latest outbreak defeated began in late June after no new confirmed cases were recorded. Under international guidelines, 42 days have to pass, representing two incubation periods of the virus.