The Government of the Democratic Republic made known on the 1st of June that there ia a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Wangata health zone, Mbandaka, in Équateur province.
This comes on the heels of the final phase of a long, difficult and complex Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, while the country also battles COVID-19 and the world’s largest measles outbreak.
According to the Ministry of Health, as of the 1st of June, six Ebola cases have so far been detected in Wangata, of which four have died and two are alive and under care. Three of these six cases have been confirmed with laboratory testing. It is likely more people will be identified with the disease as surveillance activities increase.
This is the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 11th outbreak of Ebola since the virus was first discovered in the country in 1976. The city of Mbandaka and its surrounding area were the site of Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 9th Ebola outbreak, which took place from May to July 2018.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa 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.”
WHO is already on the ground in Mbandaka supporting the response to this outbreak, as part of capacity built during the 2018 outbreak. Contact tracing is underway. communities despite these emergency events.
New outbreaks of Ebola are expected in the Democratic Republic of the Congo given the existence of the virus in an animal reservoir in many parts of the country.