CDC Marks the End of the 2018 Ebola Outbreak in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo
Ebola, finally ended in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The World Health Organization announced today that after nearly two years and the deaths of 2,280 people, the 10th outbreak of the world’s second fatal disease, Ebola, finally ended in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
WHO Director-General Tan Desai said: "The epidemic has cost us a lot, especially the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo have suffered the most, but we have learned valuable lessons and tools from it."
The Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo began in August 2018 and is second only to the severity of the outbreak in western Africa in 2014-2016. According to UNICEF data, in this conflict-ridden area, the Ebola outbreak caused 2,287 deaths and 3,470 infections, of which 28% were children.
Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever, spread from wild animals to humans, and from person to person.
Tan Desai pointed out that the Ebola vaccine has obtained a "production license and effective treatment has been determined." He said, "The world is now more capable to deal with Ebola."
Matshidiso Moeti, head of the WHO Africa Region, told reporters that “defeating Ebola is not easy, and sometimes it seems to be an impossible task”.
Despite the progress made in medical care, the insecurity situation has always been a major obstacle in the response. According to statistics, during the epidemic, there were more than 300 attacks on medical facilities, and 11 of the medical staff and patients died. In addition to armed violence, the widespread mistrust in the affected communities adds additional difficulties.
Morty said, “Ending the Ebola outbreak sends a signal of hope to the region and the world. With solidarity, science, courage, and commitment, even the most challenging epidemics can be controlled.”
The fight continues
UNICEF welcomes the end of the Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. However, the agency warned that to respond to the new Ebola outbreak in the northwestern Equatorial Province, efforts must be continued.
Abdou Dieng, director of the United Nations Ebola Emergency Office, pointed out that “the 11th outbreak occurred in Mbandaka before we ended the 10th outbreak.”
He said, "We defeated Ebola in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, but the struggle is not over yet."
On June 1, the virus reappeared in Equateur Province, infecting 24 people and causing 13 deaths. Gene sequencing shows that the virus types in this outbreak are not related to the viruses in the eastern outbreak or the 2018 Equate province outbreak.
Dion reminded people that “despite this, communities across the Democratic Republic of the Congo need to know now and in the future that they can recover from the outbreak”.
After nearly two years of Ebola preparation and response capacity building, the Democratic Republic of Congo and its nine neighboring countries have acquired stronger skills, systems, and capabilities to manage a series of emergency situations.
Morty said, “In the Democratic Republic of Congo and its neighboring countries, the response to the 2019 Coronavirus disease has been launched quickly, because the fight against Ebola has left a lasting legacy for people, and this legacy is now Used to support the fight against Coronavirus 2019 and other diseases".
There are more than 332,000 new crown disease patients on the African continent, and 8,700 people have been killed. Africa is no longer the region least affected by a coronavirus.
In the past week, 10 of the 47 countries in the region accounted for 89% of new cases, of which 5 countries accounted for 80% of new deaths.
In some countries, more than 5% of infected people are health care workers-this is a huge concern because their safety is the primary prerequisite for ensuring that they can help others.
Morty warns that cases of refugees and internally displaced persons living in crowded conditions are “prone to spread”, and if the medical staff is missing, the community will face greater risks.”
At the same time, UNICEF representative of the Democratic Republic of Congo Edouard Beigbeder pointed out that the Democratic Republic of Congo has recorded more than 6,000 cases of coronavirus infection in 2019, so international donors should support the country’s already overwhelmed health System to fight this disease. He emphasized that addressing the impact on children and their families is more important than ever.