The Democratic Republic of Congo announced the end of its latest Ebola outbreak, three months after the first case was reported in eastern Kivu province.
The outbreak infected 12 people in northern Kivu and killed six of them.
The outbreak was contained with the help of Merck’s Ebola vaccine, which was given to more than 1,600 of the patients’ contacts and contacts, says the help group Doctors Without Borders (MSF).
The cases were genetically linked to the 2018-2020 Ebola epidemic that killed more than 2,200 people, the second highest rate recorded in the history of the disease.
The latest outbreak occurred on February 3 in the city of Butembo with the death of a woman who had contracted the virus in a previous outbreak.
The virus may remain in certain body fluids, including semen, in a patient who has recovered from the disease, even if they no longer have symptoms of severe illness.
“I am pleased to solemnly declare the end of the 12th epidemic of Ebola virus disease in the northern province of Kivu,” Health Minister Jean-Jacques Mbungani said in a statement.
“Despite the security context and the COVID-19 pandemic, the speed and effectiveness of the response put in place by the government and its partners made it possible to defeat this pandemic in less than three months,” he said.
The response was often hampered by insecurity caused by armed groups and social unrest restricted the movement of health workers, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement.
“Huge credit must be given to local health workers and national authorities for their prompt response, perseverance, experience and hard work that brought this outbreak under control,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
“Even if the outbreak has ceased, we must remain vigilant for any recurrence and at the same time use the growing expertise in emergency preparedness to address other health risks facing the country.”