KINSHASA, Congo — DR Congo Authorities reported a fresh Ebola outbreak on Monday in the western city of Mbandaka, more than 1,000km (620 miles) away from an ongoing outbreak of the same deadly virus in the east amid a surging number of coronavirus infections.
According to AFP.com, the outbreak in the vast central African country’s history comes just weeks before it had hoped to declare the end of the 10th in the east. The new outbreak is Congo’s eleventh since the virus was discovered near the Ebola River in 1976.
Health Minister Eteni Longondo said that “four people have already died” from Ebola in a district of the northwestern city of Mbandaka. These cases have been confirmed positive following testing at the national biomedical laboratory in the capital Kinshasa.
“The National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) has confirmed to me that samples from Mbandaka tested positive for Ebola… We are going to very quickly send them the vaccine and medicine.”Health minister eteni longondo
The Ebola virus causes hemorrhagic fever and is spread through direct contact with body fluids from an infected person, who suffers severe vomiting and diarrhea.
The World Health Organization confirmed the outbreak via WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who tweeted: “This outbreak is a reminder that #COVID19 is not the only health threat people face.”
There has been three Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2017. They have also been combating a measles epidemic that has killed over 6,000 and COVID-19, which has infected over 3,000 and killed 71.
In a statement, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said: “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.”