The Republic of Congo has reported that Ebola has again become an epidemic, whilst the country is still struggling against the coronavirus pandemic.
Congolese Health Minister, Eteni Longondo, said four people had died because of Ebola in a district in the northwestern city of Mbandaka. “The National Biomedical Research Institute (INRB) has confirmed to me that the sample from Mbandaka is proven to be positive for Ebola,” Longondo said.
He also said that he planned to visit the location of the outbreak next weekend while also delivering vaccines and medicines.
The capital of the Equateur Province, Mbandaka, is a transportation centre on the banks of the Congo River with a population of more than one million. Equateur was previously hit by the Ebola outbreak between May and July 2018, resulting in 33 deaths and 21 others declared cured.
“This is a province that has experience with this disease. They know how to respond. They started the response at the local level on Sunday, ” Longondo said. Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it would send a team to help the Congolese government.
“To strengthen local leadership, WHO plans to send a team to support the response,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said in a statement. “Given the proximity of this new outbreak to busy transportation routes and vulnerable neighbouring countries, we must act quickly.”
Since 2018, the Ebola epidemic in the east of the country killed 2,280 people. Congolese officials had been planning to announce the country was Ebola-free on 25th June, if there had been no new cases for 42 days – double the incubation period.
Overall, Ebola has killed 11,000 people since 2014, the highest death rates being in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
In addition to Ebola, Congo is also struggling with measles and COVID-19 viruses. There were 3,195 cases positive for coronavirus, most of them in the capital city of Kinshasa, with 72 deaths reported. The country also faces a measles outbreak that has killed more than 6,000 people since the start of last year.
Source: CNN Indonesia
Image: Al Jazeera