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While Battling COVID-19 And Measles, Congo Now Detects New Ebola Outbreak

The outbreak has claimed five lives, so far.

Susie Steck

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  • While battling COVID-19, the Democratic Republic of Congo is now facing a new problem – anEbola outbreak.
  • Five people already died from the disease.
  • On top of that, Congo is still struggling to end its measles outbreak.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) reported recently that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is facing a new Ebola outbreak. The Ebola virus broke out in Mbandaka, the capital of Équateur Province in the north-western part of the country.

The new Ebola outbreak is amidst the many battles Congo is currently facing. In 2018, the eastern areas confirmed of an Ebola outbreak. In January 2019, on the other hand, measles started infecting 350,000 people, and killing 6,500. During the same period, the novel COVID-19 also started infecting the country.

The government said it is still unclear how Ebola emerged in Mbandaka, even being under the coronavirus lockdown which is about 750 miles west from the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo.

In a statement, Unicef confirmed that a 15-year-old girl died of Ebola in Mbandaka, which is the fifth reported death so far. The institution also added that the deaths occurred between May 18 and 30. However, Congo only linked the deaths to Ebola on the first week of June.

Unicef DRC Representative Edouard Beigbeder assured all partners in Congo that they are providing necessary response to the epidemic.

“(Unicef is) providing essential equipment, deploying community mobilizers, providing water and sanitation services, supporting orphans, and other affected children,” he said.

Through its office in Mbandaka, Unicef is providing equipment to Congo’s public hospital and homes.

Less than two months ago, the government of Congo was about to declare an official end to the Ebola epidemic on the eastern side of the country. It lasted for two years killing more than 2,275 people.

Unfortunately, with less than two days before the official end, new Ebola cases occurred in Mbandaka and there are a total of nine reported cases so far.

WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also wrote a statement on his Twitter account:

Primary signs and symptoms of Ebola

Ebola “is a rare but deadly virus” that damages one’s immune system and organs when it spreads in the body. According to experts, Ebola is not contagious and can only spread to people through contact with skin or bodily fluids of an infected animal like monkey, chimp, or fruit bat.

A person who has Ebola may suffer from fever, severe headache, pain in the muscle, joint, and abdomen. He or she may also experience fatigue, gastrointestinal symptoms, and unexplained hemorrhage, bleeding or bruising. Other signs may include red eyes, skin rash, and hiccups.

It also spreads person to person by contact with skin or bodily fluids. An individual who cares for an infected patient or has to bury someone who died from Ebola can often get it.

Other disease in numbers

The capital of Kinshasa, in the west of Congo has the most number of coronavirus cases. As of this writing, they have 3,049 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and 71 deaths. Mass testing is scarce so it is impossible to get the real figures and the overall scale of the outbreak.

Meanwhile, 350,000 cases of measles and 6,500 deaths have been reported measles since January 2019.

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