World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday (June 1) that health officials have confirmed a second outbreak of Ebola in Democratic Republic of the Congo. The announcement by WHO chief comes at a time when a long, difficult and complex Ebola outbreak in Congo in its final phase.
According to Congo's Ministry of Health, six new Ebola cases have so far been detected in Wangata, of which four have died and two are alive and under care. The ministry has expressed fear that more cases would come up in future as surveillance activities increase.
“This is a reminder that COVID-19 is not the only health threat people face,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Although much of our attention is on the pandemic, WHO is continuing to monitor and respond to many other health emergencies.”
It is to be noted that Ebola outbreak was first discovered in Congo in 1976. The city of Mbandaka and its surrounding area were the site of Congo's 9th Ebola outbreak, which took place from May to July 2018.
“It’s happening at a challenging time, but WHO has worked over the last two years with health authorities, Africa CDC and other partners to strengthen national capacity to respond to outbreaks,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “To reinforce local leadership, WHO plans to send a team to support scaling up the response. Given the proximity of this new outbreak to busy transport routes and vulnerable neighbouring countries we must act quickly.”
WHO team is stationed in Mbandaka in order to support the response to this outbreak. The WHO team supported the collection and testing of samples, and reference to the national laboratory for confirmation. Contact tracing is underway.