Three-year-old boy tests positive and dies near Beni just five months after the latest epidemic in the country was declared over.
One Ebola case has been confirmed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) just five months after the latest epidemic of the disease in the country was declared over.
A three-year-old boy tested positive near the eastern city of Beni, one of the epicentres of the 2018-2020 sudden increase, and died from the disease on Wednesday, Health Minister Jean Jacques Mbungani said in a statement on Friday.
It was not closest known if the case was related to the 2018-2020 sudden increase that killed more than 2,200 people in eastern DRC, the second deadliest on record, or the flare-up that killed six this year.
About 100 people, who may have been exposed to the virus, have been identified and will be observed to see if they develop any symptoms, the statement additional.
An internal report from DRC’s biomedical laboratory said that three of the toddler’s neighbours in Beni’s densely populated Butsili neighbourhood also presented symptoms consistent with Ebola last month and died, but none were tested.
The World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement saying that it was working with “health authorities to probe the case”.
The #DRC Ministry of Health just announced that a new case of Ebola has been detected in North Kivu Province, where a past sudden increase was declared over 3 May 2021. @WHO is working with health authorities to probe the case.
— WHO African vicinity (@WHOAFRO) October 8, 2021
The DRC has recorded 12 past outbreaks since the disease was discovered in the equatorial forest near the Ebola River in 1976.
It causes harsh vomiting and diarrhoea, and is spread by contact with body fluids.
The disease reappeared in February in an area of North Kivu that, between August 2018 and June 2020, experienced the largest sudden increase of Ebola in the history of the DRC – 3,470 infections and 2,287 deaths.
Health experts say it is not uncommon for occasional situations to occur following a major sudden increase. Particles of the virus can keep present in semen for months after recovery from an infection.
The disease typically kills about half of those it infects although treatments developed in West Africa have considerably reduced death rates when situations are detected early.
Two highly effective vaccines have also been used to contain outbreaks since then.
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