The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been contained following rigorous efforts by local and international health workers to stop the spread of the virus.
The DRC Ministry of Health declared an Ebola outbreak in May this year. The outbreak, which is the ninth in the country’s history, was discovered in the north-western Equateur Province.
According to a review conducted by WHO, all indications point to Ebola being almost contained with no new outbreaks.
“On 3 July 2018, WHO reviewed the level of public health risk associated with the current outbreak. The latest assessment concluded that the current Ebola virus disease outbreak has largely been contained, considering that over 21 days (one maximum incubation period) have elapsed since the last laboratory-confirmed case was discharged and that contact tracing activities ended on 27 June 2018,” said WHO, in a statement.
The international health agency said there is a need to maintain all key responsible pillars until the end of the outbreak is declared.
“However, there remains a risk of resurgence from potentially undetected transmission chains and possible sexual transmission of the virus by male survivors. It is therefore, critical to maintain all key response pillars until the end of the outbreak is declared. Strengthened surveillance mechanisms and a survivor monitoring programme are in place to mitigate, rapidly detect and respond to respond to such events. Based on these factors, WHO considers the public health risk to be moderate at the national level.
“In the absence of ongoing transmission, the probability of exported cases is low and diminishing, and has been further mitigated by the undertaking of preparedness activities and establishment of contingency plans in neighbouring countries. WHO has assessed the public health risk to be low at the regional and global levels,” reads part of the WHO statement.
The DRC Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mawampanga Mwana Nanga, urged other African countries that might face an Ebola outbreak to draw lessons from DRC.
“DRC has had nine Ebola outbreaks and this time at least 800 people died. DRC has a very large population and this shows we have managed to control the disease. I would like to urge other countries to send their medical practitioners to learn on how best to handle an Ebola outbreak from DRC,” he said.
The Ebola virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.