A new case of Ebola has been confirmed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), days before the country’s largest-ever outbreak was expected to be declared over.
The World Health Organization (WHO) made the announcement on Friday April 10, and further disclosed that the new case was confirmed in Beni, a town at the heart of the epidemic in eastern DRC. The patient died on Thursday morning in a hospital after showing symptoms several days earlier.
The new case of the deadly disease was confirmed 52 days after the last case was recorded. Until Friday, no new cases had been registered since February 17.
WHO said in a statement;
“Preliminary information shows that he is a 26-year-old man in Beni territory,” the multisectoral committee for the response to the epidemic said in a statement.
“Our teams, in collaboration with the WHO, are already on the ground to deepen the investigations and implement public health actions.”
The country planned on Monday April 13, to declare an end to the outbreak which emerged in August 2018 and has since killed more than 2,200 people.
WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted;
“After 52 days without a case, surveillance & response teams on the ground have confirmed a new case. We have been preparing for and expecting more cases.
“Unfortunately, this means the government of DRC will not be able to declare an end to the Ebola outbreak on Monday, as hoped. But WHO remains on the ground and committed as ever to working with the government, affected communities and our partners to end the outbreak.”
The outbreak has seen the use of experimental Ebola vaccines, a welcome development which has helped in rolling back the disease.