DR Congo confirms new case of Ebola linked to 2018 outbreak

A new case of Ebola virus infection has been confirmed in the city of Beni in eastern Democratic Republic (DR) of Congo, according to the country’s National Institute for Biomedical Research.

The announcement was made on Monday.

Two days earlier, the World Health Organisation had said authorities were investigating a suspected case in Beni after the death of a 46-year-old woman who had shown symptoms consistent with the disease.

Genetic sequencing showed the case was linked to the 2018-2020 outbreak in North Kivu province, which killed nearly 2,300 people, the institute said in a statement.

Ebola can sometimes linger in the eyes, central nervous system and bodily fluids of survivors and flare up years later.

Congo’s dense tropical forests are a natural reservoir for the Ebola virus, which causes fever, body aches, and diarrhoea.

Since 1976, the country has recorded 14 outbreaks.

An Ebola outbreak that emerged in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for more than two months ago, infecting 11 people and killing six, was declared over.

The DRC had announced its 13th outbreak of Ebola on October 8 last year in Beni, in North Kivu province, prompting fears of a repeat of a 2018-2020 epidemic that killed nearly 2,300 people in the same region, the second-highest toll recorded in the disease’s history.

On last Thursday, the country’s health authorities declared the end of the latest outbreak – the second in 2021 – after no new cases were recorded since October 30, last year, the end of a 42-day countdown or two incubation periods after the last confirmed case was discharged.

“My warm congratulations to health workers in the health zone of Beni who have suspended their strike movement to cope with this epidemic,” Health Minister, Jean-Jacques Mbungani, told an online news briefing.

The Ebola virus, which causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea and is spread through contact with body fluids, was first discovered near the Ebola River in 1976.

Health authorities vaccinated more than 1,800 people using Merck’s recently licensed ERVEBO vaccine, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a statement. -Aljazeera

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