DRC – The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has announced the end of an Ebola outbreak that re-emerged six weeks ago in the country’s North Kivu Province as neighboring country Uganda races to curb an unrelated outbreak declared last week.

On 21st August 2022, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced that a new laboratory-confirmed case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) had been detected in the Beni health zone in the province of North Kivu.

Analyses of samples taken from the confirmed case showed that the outbreak was genetically linked to the 2018–2020 Ebola outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, the country’s longest and largest.

DRC’s Ministry of Health worked closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other healthcare partners to launch response measures to successfully contain the EVD outbreak and prevent its spread.

The country also strengthened infection prevention and control (IPC) measures in health care settings and affected communities in order to prevent patients and health workers from being harmed by avoidable infection.

WHO revealed that although the current outbreak in North Kivu has been declared over, health authorities are maintaining surveillance measures and remain ready to respond to any flare-ups.

The agency further observed that in the DRC, improving Ebola outbreak readiness and response is paying off while noting that only a few days after the outbreak in North Kivu was declared, the health authorities rolled out a vaccination drive using the ring strategy.

More than 500 people were vaccinated including 350 contacts, contacts of contacts and frontline workers. Nearly all the 182 people who had come into contact with the initial case were monitored over 21 days and cleared once confirmed as not being at high risk,” WHO disclosed.

The agency further highlighted that the Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been caused by the Zaire ebolavirus, one of the six species of the Ebola genus, while highlighting that Uganda is fighting a fast-evolving outbreak of Sudan ebolavirus.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has built up impressive expertise in controlling the virus and we can marshal the lessons learnt to beat back the Ebola outbreak in Uganda,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa.

She underscored that while an effective vaccine is not yet available for the Sudan ebolavirus, African countries can and have brought Ebola to heel with robust contact tracing, detection, isolation of cases and good supportive care.

In Uganda, the Sudan ebolavirus outbreak has now affected three districts namely Mubende, Kyegegwa and Kassanda across 120 kilometers,” the World Health Organization reported.

WHO is supporting Uganda to improve readiness in health districts which have not reported any Ebola cases by building on previous preparedness efforts and providing refresher trainings for clinicians on surveillance, case detection and management.

It is also assisting rapid response teams in neighboring countries to strengthen case investigation, contact tracing and working with communities, as well as prepositioning critical medical equipment and supplies in high-risk countries.

Through its Contingency Fund for Emergencies, WHO is providing US$500,000 to support Uganda’s Ebola control efforts and another US$300,000 from its preparedness programme to support readiness activities in the neighboring countries,” the agency announced.

The agency further revealed that an isolation unit has been set up in the Mubende Regional Referral Hospital and preparations are underway for an additional Ebola Treatment Unit.

WHO has also deployed three viral haemorrhagic fever kits with medical supplies, medicines and personal protective equipment while more kits will be deployed based on need.

In addition, it is strengthening infection prevention and control in health facilities and is supporting simulation exercises in high-risk districts.

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