Africa: Ebola outbreak detected in Congo
The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced today that a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease is occurring in Wangata health zone in the Equateur province.
The country's Ministry of Health has informed that six Ebola cases have so far been detected in Wangata, of which four have died and two are alive and under care. Three of these six cases have been confirmed with laboratory testing, according to the press release by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
"This is a reminder that COVID-19 is not the only health threat people face," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. "Although much of our attention is on the pandemic, WHO is continuing to monitor and respond to many other health emergencies."
This is Congo's 11th outbreak of Ebola since the virus was first discovered in the country in 1976.
"It's happening at a challenging time, but WHO has worked over the last two years with health authorities, Africa CDC and other partners to strengthen national capacity to respond to outbreaks," said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
"To reinforce local leadership, WHO plans to send a team to support scaling up the response. Given the proximity of this new outbreak to busy transport routes and vulnerable neighbouring countries, we must act quickly."
WHO is already on the ground in Mbandaka supporting the response to this outbreak. Contact tracing is also underway in the country.
According to WHO, new outbreaks of Ebola are expected in the Democratic Republic of the Congo given the existence of the virus in an animal reservoir in many parts of the country.