Health officials announced on Thursday, June 25, that the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in the northeast of the country has been declared over, 42 days after the last confirmed case in the region. At least 3,463 EVD cases were confirmed in the provinces of Ituri and North and South Kivu since the outbreak began in August 2018, including 2,277 fatalities. Despite a widespread vaccination campaign, authorities had struggled to bring the outbreak in the restive and largely inaccessible region under control. Misinformation and minimal government influence made cooperation with local communities difficult, with more than 400 attacks on health workers and facilities reported during the outbreak.
The official end of the EVD outbreak in the northeast comes less than a month after a separate outbreak of the disease was identified in the Equateur Province city of Mbandaka. At least 24 cases have been diagnosed in the city since the beginning of the new outbreak on June 1, with 13 people known to have died from the disease. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that the outbreak is not related to the northeast epidemic, with the new cases likely to be the result of animal-to-human transmission such as via the consumption of illegal bushmeat.
EVD is extremely virulent. The disease is transmitted to humans via direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids of infected animals. The disease can then be transmitted between humans and is highly contagious, particularly during the hemorrhagic phase. Ebola is characterized by the sudden onset of high fever, weakness, joint and muscle pain, and headache. A sore throat is also a common early symptom. These symptoms are followed by nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, kidney and liver failure, and, in the later stages, internal and external hemorrhaging.
Individuals in Mbandaka are advised to monitor the situation and take measures to prevent the contraction and spread of EVD, including:
- Avoid contact with infected individuals and any items that have been in their close proximity.
- Avoid consuming bush meat and only handle animals when wearing gloves and appropriate protective wear.
- Animal products (e.g. meat and blood) should be thoroughly cooked before consumption.
- Adhere to a strict observance of hygienic precautions (e.g. wash hands regularly, etc.).
- Avoid crowded areas (e.g. stadiums, markets, train stations, etc.).
Individuals exhibiting the abovementioned symptoms and traveling in an area of active EVD transmission should seek immediate medical attention and comply with all directives issued by local health authorities.
Copyright and Disclaimer