On the 14th May, the Ministry of Health in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) began the 42-day countdown to the declaration of the end of the Ebola outbreak in Eastern DRC. However, on the 1st June, the government announced a new outbreak of six cases in the Northwest Wangata health zone, three probable and three laboratory-confirmed, four of whom have died. This is the DRC’s 11th outbreak since the discovery of Ebola in 1976.
A WHO team is already on the ground as part of capacity built during the 2018 outbreak. Testing and contact tracing is already underway, and the organisation of additional supplies are ongoing.
This is a challenging time for the DRC, which also has the world’s largest outbreak of measles, with 369,520 cases and 6,779 deaths since 2019. As of the 31st May, there were also 3,195 cases of COVID-19 reported, including 72 deaths.
“This is a reminder that COVID-19 is not the only health threat people face,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Although much of our attention is on the pandemic, WHO is continuing to monitor and respond to many other health emergencies.”