By World Healthcare Journal-
The Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has now announced that a new case of Ebola has been detected in the city of Butembo, where a previous outbreak was declared over in June 2020.
The Butembo branch of the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) has confirmed the Ebola virus in samples taken from a patient with Ebola-like symptoms, who had sought treatment at a local health centre. The woman was the wife of an Ebola survivor, but has since died of the disease.
Butembo was one of the epicentres of the previous Ebola outbreak in the DRC. According to the WHO, it is not unusual for sporadic cases to occur following a major outbreak.
“The expertise and capacity of local health teams has been critical in detecting this new Ebola case and paving the way for a timely response,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
“WHO is providing support to local and national health authorities to quickly trace, identify and treat the contacts to curtail the further spread of the virus. ”
Due to the enormous capacity built to combat the previous outbreak, local health authorities are leading the current response with support from the Ministry of Health and the WHO. At present, WHO are providing training to laboratory technicians, contact tracers, local vaccination teams and have reached out to community groups to raise Ebola awareness - as well as forming an Ebola survivor programme.
WHO epidemiologists are now on the ground investigating the case - and more than 70 contacts with the patient have been identified. Disinfection of sites visited by the patient is also ongoing.
Samples from the confirmed Ebola patient have been sent to the National Institute of Biomedical Research’s main laboratory in Kinshasa for genome sequencing to identify the strain of the Ebola and to determine its link to the previous outbreak.
The DRC’s 10th Ebola outbreak - which lasted for nearly two years - was the second largest in the world, and by the time it ended, there were 3481 cases, 2299 deaths and 1162 survivors.
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