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Another Ebola outbreak announced in DR Congo

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THE Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has announced the resurgence of Ebola in its troubled eastern part of the country. This is three months after the country was declared free from the deadly virus.

According to the AFP, the announcement was made by Eteni Longondo, DRC’s health minister to a state-owned television on Sunday.

The minister said the outbreak occurred in the Biena health zone of North Kivu province after a woman died of the disease last Wednesday.

“We have another episode of the Ebola virus in the Biena health zone of North Kivu province,” Longondo told state television, RTNC.

“It was a farmer, the wife of a survivor of Ebola, who showed typical signs of the disease on February 1,” he added.

She died on February 3, after which a sample of her blood tested positive for Ebola, the health minister said.

The DRC declared on November 18 the end of its eleventh Ebola outbreak, which claimed 55 lives out of 130 positive cases over nearly six months in the northwestern province of Equateur.

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On October 16, the last person was said to have recovered from Ebola in Equateur.

The widespread use of Ebola vaccinations, which were administered to more than 40,000 people, helped curb the disease.

The return of Ebola in the country’s northeast — a region plagued by violence between armed groups — comes as the vast African country also fights its own Covid-19 outbreak.

A previous Ebola outbreak in the DRC’s east, which ran from August 1, 2018, to June 25 2020, was the country’s worst-ever, with 2,277 deaths.

It was also the second-highest toll in the 44-year history of the disease, surpassed only by a three-country outbreak in West Africa from 2013-16 that killed 11,300 people.

Ebola haemorrhagic fever was first identified in 1976 after scientists probed a string of unexplained deaths in what is now northern DRC.

The symptoms are severe: high fever and muscle pain, followed by vomiting and diarrhoea, skin eruptions, kidney and liver failure, internal and external bleeding.

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The average fatality rate from Ebola is around 50 percent but this can rise to 90 percent for some epidemics, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The virus that causes Ebola is believed to reside in bats.

DR Congo has also recorded 23,599 coronavirus cases and 681 deaths in a population of around 80 million people

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