from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – THE countdown has begun towards the declaration of the end of the world’s second-deadliest Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
This follows the release of the last Ebola patient from a treatment centre in the north-eastern town of Beni.
The end of the outbreak can only be ascertained when no infections arise 42 days after the last reported case has tested negative. Thus the countdown is effective from Monday this week.
“I applaud the tireless efforts that have been made to respond to this outbreak. I’m truly encouraged by the news that the last Ebola patient has left the treatment centre healthy,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Director for Africa.
She nonetheless urged for vigilance in the coming weeks and beyond.
Although the patient has been allowed to leave, 46 people who had come in contact with her are still being monitored
“It is not yet the end of Ebola in the DRC. We must stay vigilant.”
The current outbreak, which was declared at the beginning of August 2018, is the DRC’s tenth and worst.
As of 1 March, there were 2 264 deaths from 3 444 confirmed and probable cases.
It is the second-worst globally after the 2014–2016 epidemic in West Africa killed over 11 300 people.
The imminent end of the Ebola outbreak coincides with the escalation of another deadly fever, the coronavirus, which has killed more than 3 000 people globally since an outbreak in China at the end of 2019.
– CAJ News