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The DRC declares the end of 13th Ebola epidemic


Dec 20, 2021

KINSHASA December 17th (XINHUA) – The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) officially declared on Thursday the end of the 13th outbreak of Ebola virus disease that has raged in the province of North Kivu (northeast) since October 2021.

Since the start of the epidemic declared on October 8, a total of 11 cases have been recorded, including six deaths in the Beni region of North Kivu province.

Thanks to the experience of the DRC response team and health partners, the epidemic was brought under control less than two months after its declaration, Congolese Health Minister Jean-Jacques Mbungani said in a congratulatory manner.

“Stronger disease surveillance, community involvement, targeted vaccination and rapid response make Ebola control more effective in the region (…) During this epidemic, the DRC was able to limit the spread of disease and save lives,” said Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for Africa.

According to the WHO, more than 1,800 people have been vaccinated as part of a campaign that was launched five days after the first case was detected. The epidemic provided an opportunity, for the first time, to use the recently approved ERVEBO vaccine against Ebola in the country.

However, unpredictable and sometimes volatile security in parts of Beni hampered the response in some localities, as health workers were unable to access unsafe areas to monitor high-risk contacts or administer vaccines, WHO deplored.

According to the results of genome sequencing carried out by the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB), the first case of Ebola detected during the 13th epidemic is probably genetically linked to the previous epidemic of 2018-2020, which killed more than 2,200 people in the country.