DRC records one more Ebola case 2 days after declaring the epidemic was over
According to the publication, on Friday, WHO announced a new Ebola case in the DRC town of Beni when Semida Masika Muhasu a vegetable vendor tested positive for Ebola.
Just as health workers were getting ready to forget about Ebola and prepare for COVID-19, 2 days before the official WHO stipulated 42 days incubation period over, a new case emerged.
A woman in the Democratic Republic of Congo has tested positive for Ebola after the country was getting ready to sign off the disease and declare it totally eradicated, The New York Times reports.
This means DRC when they are done treating the new Ebola case will have to wait another 42 days an equivalent of 2 incubation period to declare that the epidemic is over.
But the celebrations are now on hold. On Friday, the World Health Organization announced that a new case of Ebola had been confirmed in Beni, just as health workers had already pivoted to respond to the arrival of the coronavirus in Congo.
For now, it’s only one new case. But the setback demonstrates just how hard it is to eradicate a virus. Now, while medical workers push to stop any further resurgence of Ebola, they must also combat a flare-up of the coronavirus in a country that has been wracked for years with instability and violence.
“This is now a triple emergency,” said Kate Moger, a regional vice president with the International Rescue Committee.
At best, if the newly discovered Ebola patient is discharged and no new cases emerge, Congo will now have to wait another two incubation periods — or 42 days — until the Ebola epidemic can be declared over.
Even with the setback, public health experts say the intensive campaign to defeat Ebola in Congo may offer some lessons for the world as it grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, though the viruses are very different and the coronavirus has spread far more widely.
The response to Ebola has been complicated by some of the same challenges now undermining the battle against COVID-19 elsewhere in the world.
There have been feuds between government officials, lack of coordination among responding agencies and mistrust from some community members.
As the Ebola outbreak raged on for 19 months, new hot spots kept emerging, health care workers continued to die from the disease and tracking the sick to break transmission chains proved extremely difficult.
To combat Ebola in Congo, one of the world’s poorest nations, health workers are taking a multifaceted approach.
They have worked to win over communities that were sometimes uncooperative — even hostile.
They have drawn on technological innovations, notably a transparent enclosure known as the cube that allows medical workers to reach in and treat patients suffering from the contagious disease through plastic sleeves.
And they have used vaccines, developed relatively recently, which have made it possible to limit the spread of the epidemic.
Ebola, transmitted through contact with sick or dead people or animals, causes fever, bleeding, weakness and abdominal pain. Although it is less contagious than the coronavirus, Ebola kills about half of those it infects — a far higher rate than the coronavirus.
The current Ebola outbreak has infected 3,456 people and killed 2,276, most of them in Congo. It was designated a global health emergency last July and was the worst Ebola epidemic since the one that began in West Africa in 2014, which ultimately infected 28,616 people and killed more than 11,000.
Source – New York Times
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