Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo has three Ebola outbreaks since 2017. Ebola has killed 2,280 people since August 2018 in the country’s east. Meanwhile, a new Ebola outbreak has occurred on the northwest side of the country. The DRC authorities have announced a new Ebola outbreak in the western city of Mbandaka on Monday. This happened when the Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo was in its final phase. There have been six cases so far, four of which have died in the city.

What is the Ebola Virus?

Ebola virus disease which is also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever is transmitted to people from wild animals. It spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. Ebola spreads through human-to-human transmission with body fluids of a person who is sick or with the objects that have been contaminated with body fluids.

Symptoms of the Ebola virus include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.

History of the Ebola virus

The virus was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976 near the Ebola river. During the year 2014, West Africa had the largest outbreak with over 28,000 cases. There has been an ongoing outbreak in the Congo since August 2018.

The World Health Organization has reported 24 outbreaks involving 2,387 cases with 1,590 deaths from the year 1976 to 2012. The World Health Organization has declared the Congo Ebola outbreak a world health emergency in July,2019.

Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is still battling with coronavirus and the world’s largest measles outbreak and now the health officials have confirmed the second Ebola outbreak. The country already has more than 3,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 72 deaths. However, the measles outbreak has killed more people in Congo than those diseases combined. According to the World Health Organization, there have been 369,520 measles cases and 6,779 deaths since 2019. 

The World Health Organisation said the risk of a global spread is low. But it is very likely that the cases would spread into neighboring countries. WHO Director, General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “This is a reminder that Covid-19 is not the only health threat people face. Although much of our attention is on the pandemic, WHO is continuing to monitor and respond to many other health emergencies.”

For Ebola, a maximum incubation period of 21 days has been assumed. So, to officially classify the end of the outbreak, there must be no new cases recorded for 42 days which is double the incubation period.