The World Health Organisation has announced a fresh outbreak of the epidemic Ebola in Butembo, a city in North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The initial announcement was made by DRC’s Ministry of Health after the Butembo branch of the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) confirmed Ebola in samples taken from a patient who had symptoms of the disease and had sought health care at a local health centre.
This patient, a woman and wife to an Ebola survivor has since died. In the previous outbreak of Ebola in the eastern part of DRC, Butembo was one of the epicentres of the disease.
WHO’s Africa Regional Director, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said that ‘the expertise and capacity of local health teams has been critical in detecting new Ebola cases and paving the way for a timely response.” He also announced that the WHO was providing support to health authorities to facilitate timely trace and detection of those who diseased persons have contacted so as to stop the further spread of the virus.
More than 70 contacts have been identified as at the time of the filing of the press release by WHO and disinfection of sites visited by patients is ongoing.
Samples from the confirmed Ebola patient have been sent to the National Institute of Biomedical Research’s main laboratory in Kinshasa for genome sequencing to identify the strain of the Ebola and to determine its link to the previous outbreak.
The DRC’s 10th Ebola outbreak which lasted for nearly two years was the second largest in the world and by the time it ended there were 3481 cases, 2299 deaths and 1162 survivors. Last November, the organisation announced the end of the 11th Ebola outbreak in the North-West Province of DRC.