The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed a new case of the Ebola virus in Beni on Friday, April 10, three days before the country expected to declare an end to the outbreak. The patient reportedly died from the virus on Thursday, April 9, several days after being infected. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that DR Congo's declaration had been planned for April 13 following an anticipated 42 days without a case; a stipulation that needs to be met in order to declare an end to the outbreak.
The Ebola outbreak in DRC has claimed more than 2260 lives - second to the 2014 to 2016 outbreak in West Africa which infected 28,616 people and resulted in more than 11,000 fatalities. Further spread of the disease is possible over the coming weeks and months.
The outbreak began on August 1, 2018, with most cases concentrated in North Kivu, South Kivu, and Ituri provinces. As of March 1, there have been 3445 confirmed and probable cases of Ebola recorded in the affected area, along with 2260 associated fatalities.
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 some cases, internal and external bleeding.
Individuals in affected provinces are advised to monitor the situation, remain vigilant for militant activity, and take measures to prevent the contraction and spread of Ebola virus disease (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.