Congo Health Ministry announces new confirmed Ebola case

Stockpiles of the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine has been acquired in efforts to stem the outbreak.

Critical containment measures have been enforced in north-western Democratic Republic of Congo after a new case of Ebola was confirmed. Four months after the last outbreak ended, a 31 year old male from the city of Mbandaka was confirmed to have tested positive for Ebola. The health ministry declared that seventy four people that the patient came into contact with are being monitored. Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization (WHO) regional Director for Africa stated, “Time is not on our side”, and further added “The disease has had a two-week head start and we are now playing catch-up. The positive news is that health authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have more experience than anyone else in the world at controlling Ebola outbreaks quickly.”

On 05 April, the patient started to experience symptoms but the patient did not seek out treatment for over a week. The patient was then admitted on 21 April into an Ebola treatment centre, he later died that day. The WHO noted that efforts to stem the outbreak in Mbandaka were well underway, the national authorities are aiming to speed up testing, contact tracing, treatment, control and prevention as well as collaborating with communities to assist public health measures. A vaccination campaign is set to start in a few days as the country has procured the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine. “Many people in Mbandaka are already vaccinated against Ebola, which should help reduce the impact of the disease,” said Dr Moeti. “All those who were vaccinated during the 2020 outbreak will be revaccinated.”