Medicine

DRC confirms new Ebola cluster days after outbreak declared over

DRC confirms new Ebola cluster days after outbreak declared over

The North Kivu health division notified the health ministry on Saturday of 26 cases of haemorrhagic fever, including 20 deaths in North Kivu province, the ministry said.

Oly Ilunga, MD, of the DRC's health minister, took to Twitter today to announce the cases, which are centered around Beni in the Magina health district.

This is the DRC's 10th outbreak of Ebola since 1976, when the virus was discovered near the eponymous river in the north.

The ministry said a team of 12 virus hunters would arrive in Beni, a city of about a quarter million residents near the epicenter of the outbreak, by Thursday. This could include redeploying personnel involved in the Ebola response in Equateur Province, as well as the deployment of new experts if necessary.

A fresh outbreak of Ebola has occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, just days after the country declared itself free of the deadly virus. Six samples from these patients were tested, and four tested positive for Ebola, the ministry said.

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Health officials said a quick global response and the vaccination of more than 3,300 people were decisive factors in containing the virus. "This new cluster is occurring in an environment which is very different from where we were operating in the northwest", said Dr Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General, Emergency Preparedness and Response.

Four cases of the Ebola virus have been confirmed in the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, officials confirmed Wednesday. "It is, on the other hand, worrying that this area is a conflict zone.It is an area with lots of displacement, so the access can be hampered in that way".

An outbreak concentrated in the West African countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea killed at least 11,300 people between 2013 and 2016.

The flare-up, first detected in the rural village of Ikoko Impenge in northwest Congo in April, was dealt with rapidly by World Health Organization and Congolese authorities, including the deployment of an experimental vaccine given to over 3,300 people.

The area also has strong trade with neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda, raising the risk of the virus moving internationally.