Infectious Disease

New case of Ebola in DRC area the place a significant outbreak occurred

February 08, 2021

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The wife of a survivor of a major Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has died of the disease almost 8 months after the outbreak was declared, the WHO said, raising concerns about a recurrence of the virus.

According to WHO, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo reported the new case in Butembo, a city in North Kivu, the eastern province where the outbreak occurred in 2018-2020.

Microscopic image of the Ebola virus

The wife of a survivor of the North Kivu Ebola outbreak died almost 8 months after the outbreak was explained.
Photo credit: Adobe Stock

The woman, whose samples tested positive for Ebola, sought medical help for Ebola-like symptoms and later died. So far, more than 70 contacts have been identified, said the WHO.

“The expertise and capacity of the local health teams were essential to identify this new Ebola case and pave the way for a timely response,” said the WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti, MBBS, MSc, said in a press release. “WHO is helping local and national health authorities rapidly track, identify and deal with the contacts in order to contain the further spread of the virus.”

The North Kivu eruption lasted nearly two years and was declared over in June 2020. There were 3,481 cases and 2,299 deaths attributable to the outbreak, and more than 1,160 people recovered. It was the second largest Ebola outbreak after the West African epidemic, which lasted from 2014 to 2016 and killed more than 11,000 people.

The WHO reported that genome sequencing is in progress to identify the woman’s Ebola strain and see if it is related to the previous outbreak. It is unclear whether the woman was vaccinated against Ebola or how she was infected.

The WHO warned last year that the region could experience Ebola flare-ups, which often occurred after the West African epidemic. Ebola survivors who no longer have symptoms can continue to carry the virus – for example in sperm – and thus enable it to be reintroduced.

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