WHO Announces Re-emergence of Ebola Disease Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced that the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in a new laboratory test has confirmed cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Butsili Health Area, Beni Health Zone in North Kivu Province.

This is coming after the WHO on May 3rd 2021 declared the EVD which affected the North Kivu Province over.

A statement from the WHO media office on Monday, said the North Kivu Provincial health authorities, DRC Ministry of Health, with support from WHO and partners, is investigating the most recent cases and are leading the current response.

It said as of 9 October, a total of 148 contacts have been identified and are under follow up by the response team.

It said the re-emergence of EVD is a major public health issue in the DRC and there are gaps in the country’s capacity to prepare for and respond to outbreaks.

It added that a confluence of environmental and socioeconomic factors including poverty, community mistrust, weak health systems, and political instability is accelerating the rate of the emergence of EVD in the DRC.

It said another challenge stretching the limited resources is the concurrent COVID-19 outbreak noting that the first confirmed COVID-19 case was registered in DRC on 14 March 2020.

it added that as of 5 October 2021, DRC had reported 57 197 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1 087 deaths.

The WHO said it considers that the ongoing challenges in terms of access and security, epidemiological surveillance, coupled with the emergence of COVID-19, as well as cholera, meningitis, and measles outbreaks may jeopardize the country’s ability to rapidly detect and respond to the re-emergence of EVD cases.

WHO said it will ensure mandatory pre-deployment training and refresher training for any further deployments; reporting channels for alerts or complaints; prompt investigation of complaints; and monitoring.

It said the WHO is closely monitoring the situation and the risk assessment will be updated as more information becomes available.

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