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2 June, 2020 01:22:06 PM
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DR Congo reports fresh Ebola outbreak

Independent Online/ AFP
DR Congo reports fresh Ebola outbreak
The newest Ebola outbreak is the 11th in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1976. AFP Photo

DR Congo reported a fresh Ebola outbreak in its northwest on Monday, the latest health emergency for a country already fighting an epidemic of the deadly fever in the east as well as a surging number of coronavirus infections.

The 11th Ebola outbreak in the vast central African country's history comes just weeks before it had hoped to declare the end of the 10th in the east.

Health Minister Eteni Longondo said that "four people have already died" from Ebola in a district of the northwestern city of Mbandaka.

"The National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) has confirmed to me that samples from Mbandaka tested positive for Ebola," Longondo told a press conference on Monday.

"We will send them the vaccine and medicine very quickly," he said, adding that he planned to visit the site of the outbreak at the end of the week.

The capital of Equateur province, Mbandaka is a transport hub on the Congo River with a population of more than a million.

Equateur province was previously hit by an Ebola outbreak between May and July 2018, in which 33 people died and 21 recovered from the disease.

"This is a province that has already experienced the disease. They know how to respond. They started the response at the local level yesterday (Sunday)," Longondo said.

The World Health Organization said it would be sending a team to help support DR Congo response.

"To reinforce local leadership, WHO plans to send a team to support scaling up the response," Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said in a statement.

"Given the proximity of this new outbreak to busy transport routes and vulnerable neighbouring countries we must act quickly."

- The eastern epidemic -

The Ebola epidemic in the country's east has killed 2,280 people since August 2018, and officials had hoped to be able to proclaim it over on June 25.

For it to be officially over, there have to be no new cases reported for 42 days -- double the incubation period.

The eastern epidemic was just three days away from being declared over on April 10 when a new case was reported.

 

Seven new cases were then recorded, including four deaths, two recoveries and one patient who fled, and the clock was restarted on May 14.

The WHO also extended its Public Health Emergency of International Concern designation for the epidemic, which has mainly affected the North Kivu province.

TH

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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