The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) says it is now free of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) after more than 40 days without a case as of Wednesday, November 18. The latest EVD epidemic in the northwest province of Equateur was the third to hit the DRC in the last two years. The third epidemic was declared on June 1 and reportedly spread from the provincial capital Mbandaka; 130 people went on to contract the EVD, with 55 of them dying.
Related recovery and medical operations are to be anticipated in parts of the northwest over the near term.
Ebola virus disease (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.
Those in DRC 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.).
Those 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.