Written by Williams ABAH

Ebola outbreak still in Congo DR - WHO

The Ebola disease outbreak, ravaging the Democratic Republic of Congo, appears far from over as new confirmed cases and deaths from the disease are still being reported in the conflict-ridden country.

At a press briefing in Abuja, the World Health Organization, WHO said latest figures shows that 3,428 cases recorded, while 3,305 confirmed and 123 cases are still under laboratory investigation.

According to WHO, 2246 deaths, have been recorded since the disease was first reported in August 2018.

There are 1157 survivors, with some patients still under intensive care in the hospital. Democratic Republic of Congo has been battling with the outbreak of the disease since August 2018.

The World Health Organisation Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said the world cannot yet look away from the Ebola outbreak in DRC, though cases are already on the decline.

In his words, “I want to use this opportunity to stress that WHO is responding to 216 emergencies at the moment and share updates on the Ebola outbreak in DRC: since the start of February, there have been three cases. It’s too soon to celebrate, but we must use the momentum to finish off this outbreak,” he said.

It was learnt that a vaccine was approved by the WHO last year to stem the tide of the outbreak, and recent reports from the health agency also show that progress is being made in combating the disease in the conflict-ridden North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

In the report, latest number of reported cases stands at 3,429, including 2,251 deaths — a fatality rate of 66 per cent.

WHO regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said the situation in the country is very different now from what it was a few months ago.

Moeti said the number of cases per day is much reduced than it was obtainable weeks ago, especially when the agency has to stop essential interventions in the hotspots in the DRC.

In her words, "What I can say with a great deal of hope and optimism is that we are seeing, for example, in a week something like five cases".

The Ebola outbreak has been going on since August 2018 in Congo DR. This is the 10th to hit the DRC since 1976, and the second-largest ever recorded, after the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

It was gathered that the epidemic ended in 2016, the virus had infected nearly 30,000 people and killed more than 11,000 in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

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