US/World

Congo Witnesses Second Ebola Outbreak Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is not the only one that some regions have to worry about. Over in Congo, other diseases need addressing, particularly the Ebola virus. A second outbreak has been reported with new cases and deaths per the Congolese health ministry.

In a report, there were six identified cases of the Ebola virus over at the Equateur Province, a region along the Congo River on the border with the Republic of Congo. Four people have reportedly died. This is the same part back in 2018 where 53 people were infected while 29 were killed. The outbreak was placed under control when health officials were able to deploy a vaccine to towns and villages. That included Mbandaka, a trading port on the Congo River.

However, the new Ebola outbreak is believed to be unrelated to the previous outbreak that hit the North Kivu Province at the time. For those who may not be aware, that was the second-worst outbreak in modern history fueled by violence and unrest in a war-torn region where about a million people are displaced. The World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that the health ministry identified 3,046 cases where 2,243 lives were claimed. The new outbreak is the 11th recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976.

The new outbreak is believed to be in its final stages. No new cases have been identified by health workers since Apr. 27, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The last person who was confirmed to have contracted the disease survived and was released on May 14. That was the start of the 42-day countdown before the outbreak could be officially declared over.

The second Ebola outbreak places Congo in an even delicate state. They are already dealing with the world's largest outbreak of measles on top of 3,195 COVID-19 cases. Kinshasa, one of Africa's most populated cities, had the most number of coronavirus cases at 2,896.

Now, Congo needs to deal with two cases as health officials try to find ways to contain the outbreak. That would include placing measures to prevent the disease from spreading. Mbandaka is just 200 miles away from Kinshasa, placing the urban areas at risk.

Ebola Health care workers learn how to properly dispose of the remains of a simulated patient who died from Ebola in Buchanan City, Nov. 21, 2014. Joint Forces Command – United Assistance mobile training team trains local health care workers on how to properly manage an Ebola treatment unit. Staff Sgt. Terrance D. Rhodes/US Army

WHO Regional Director for Africa admits that the Ebola outbreak, unfortunately, happens at a challenging time. He believes they must act quickly to prevent the disease from spreading. WHO has already sent members to Mbandaka to help respond. Additional support teams will be deployed to ramp up response efforts to the Ebola virus.

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