The Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday confirmed a new case of Ebola in the eastern part of the country five months after the end of the most recent outbreak there.
Even though has not been confirmed if the case was related to the 2018-2020 outbreak that killed more than 2,200 people in eastern Congo, the second deadliest on record, or the flare-up that killed six this year.
In a statement by Health Minister Jean Jacques Mbungani, a 3-year-old boy tested positive near the eastern city of Beni, one of the epicentres of the 2018-2020 outbreak, and died from the disease on Wednesday,
According to him, about 100 people who may have been exposed to the virus have been identified and will be monitored to see if they develop any symptoms.
He also disclosed that an internal report from Congo’s biomedical laboratory said that three of the toddler’s neighbours in Beni’s densely-populated Butsili neighbourhood also presented symptoms consistent with Ebola last month and died, but none were tested.
“Thanks to the experience acquired in managing the Ebola virus disease during previous epidemics, we are confident that the response teams will manage to control this outbreak as soon as possible,” Mbungani said.
Congo has recorded 12 outbreaks since the disease, which causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea, and is spread through contact with body fluids, was discovered in the equatorial forest near the Ebola River in 1976.
The disease typically kills about half of those it infects although treatments developed since the record 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa have significantly reduced death rates when cases are detected early.
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