Africa-Press – Rwanda. The Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), on Friday, October 8 announced that a new case of Ebola has been detected in the health zone of Butsili in North Kivu Province, where a previous outbreak was declared over in May this year.
The case was confirmed by the Goma branch of the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) in samples taken from a young child who died after suffering from Ebola-like symptoms on 6 October. Butsili is close to Beni, a commercial hub with links to the neighboring countries of Uganda and Rwanda.
Beni town was one of the epicentres of the 2018–2020 Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and about 50 km from Butembo city which experienced a new Ebola outbreak earlier this year.
According to information from the World Health Organisation, it is not unusual for sporadic cases to occur following a major outbreak, “but it is too soon to say whether this case is related to the previous outbreaks.”
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa said WHO is supporting health authorities to investigate the new Ebola case. “North Kivu has been battered by Ebola outbreaks during the past few years, but this has built up local expertise and community awareness, paving the way for a fast-moving response,” she said.
Between 2018 and 2020, the DRC experienced a long, complex and difficult Ebola outbreak which lasted for nearly two years which was the second largest in the world. By the time it ended there were 3481 cases, 2299 deaths and 1162 survivors.
In regard to the current situation, WHO said in a statement that the North Kivu Provincial health authorities are leading the current response with support from the Ministry of Health and WHO.
During the previous outbreaks in North Kivu, WHO helped build the capacity of local laboratory technicians, contact tracers, vaccination teams and reached out to community groups to raise Ebola awareness, as well as put in place an Ebola survivor programme.