As the Democratic Republic of Congo was about to announce the end of the second-worst disease outbreak in history, the first person, since February, to contract Ebola died on April 9. According to an international media outlet, the Central African country planned to declare the end to the epidemic on April 12, however, the regional health authorities said that the 26-year-old man in the area of Beni in eastern Congo died in hospital after developing symptoms on March 27. The end of the epidemic would have allowed the overstretched health services to concentrate on the containing coronavirus, which has reportedly infected nearly 215 and killed 20 in the region.
While speaking to an international media outlet, Abdou Dieng, the United Nations Deputy Coordinator for Emergency Response to Ebola Virus Disease (EERC), said that the latest Ebola-related death came as a huge blow to DR Congo. He added that it was a ‘big surprise’ as in the past 50 days there had been no cases and the authorities were two days away from celebrating the end of the epidemic. Furthermore, he called the incident ‘the worst-case scenario’ and added that the authorities are going to have to deal with two epidemics at the same time.
As per reports, since August last year, Ebola has killed more than 2,200 in DR Congo and the country is also trying the fight against a measles epidemic. Dieng said that the officials thought the Ebola was over and they would now devote their time and energy to fight coronavirus, however, with the latest death, the two epidemics are ‘in front’ of them. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reportedly said that the organisation had been expecting more cases to emerge in Congo and was primed to respond.
The deadly disease was first detected back in 1976 and since then Congo has suffered ten outbreaks of the virus. The two new vaccines have had a major impact on containing the virus, however, the Islamist rebels reportedly stopped health workers from reaching some areas where the virus had spread. The WHO top emergencies experts, Mike Ryan reportedly said that the teams on the ground were continuing to investigate 2,600 Ebola across the country’s two affected provinces. He also added that the authorities also take thousands of samples every week and continue active surveillance.