The Democratic Republic of Congo declared this Monday (4) the end of the Ebola outbreak that reached, less than three months ago, the city of Mbandaka, capital of the province of Equateur, in the northwest of the country. This was the third outbreak in the province since 2018 and the 14th in the country.
Experience in controlling the disease allowed national emergency teams, with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners, to mount a rapid response shortly after the outbreak was declared on April 23.
Combat measures such as testing, contact tracing, infection prevention and control, treatment and community involvement were implemented. Vaccination was launched four days after the outbreak was declared.
In all, there were four confirmed cases and one probable case – all died. In the previous outbreak in Equateur Province, which lasted from June to November 2020, there were 130 confirmed cases and 55 deaths.
In this outbreak, 2,104 people were vaccinated, including 302 contacts and 1,307 frontline workers. To facilitate the implementation of vaccination, a freezer with special cooling was installed in Mbandaka, which allowed vaccine doses to be safely stored locally and delivered efficiently.
Increase in outbreaks
The Democratic Republic of Congo has recorded 14 Ebola outbreaks since 1976, six of which have occurred since 2018.
“Africa is seeing an increase in Ebola and other infectious diseases that jump from animals to humans, affecting large urban areas,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa, said in a statement.
“We need to be increasingly vigilant to ensure that we detect cases quickly. This outbreak response shows that by strengthening preparedness, disease surveillance and rapid detection, we can stay one step ahead.”
Although the outbreak in Mbandaka has been declared over, health officials remain vigilant. According to the WHO, it is not uncommon for sporadic cases to occur after an outbreak.
The disease caused by a virus, which affects humans and other primates, is serious and often fatal. Case fatality rates have ranged from 25% to 90% in previous outbreaks.
With the effective treatment currently available, patients have a significantly better chance of survival if they are treated early and given supportive care.
The Ebola virus belongs to the filovirus family, and there are at least five types of Ebola virus, which vary in their ability to cause disease and lethality.
The virus was described from an epidemic in 1976, with outbreaks in the region of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and southern Sudan. To date, the microorganism has caused outbreaks on the African continent.
Source: CNN Brasil