16 May 2020

DR Congo’s last Ebola patient discharged, says WHO

The last Ebola patient in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been discharged from a medical facility in the country’s northeast, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Friday.

In a tweet, the WHO Regional Office for Africa said the patient was released from a treatment center in Beni, referring to the city in North Kivu province as the “last remaining Ebola hotspot” in the country.

“Response teams will remain on the ground in full response mode for the rest of the 42-day observation period,” read the WHO African Region tweet, which included a video of jubilant medics celebrating the patient’s recovery.

WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti also confirmed the “positive” development in a separate tweet.

“Yesterday, the last Ebola patient was released in Beni, the only remaining Ebola hotspot in DRC. I am encouraged by this positive news & hope that we will soon finally bring this outbreak to an end,” she said.

The WHO set up Ebola vaccination centers in Beni last month, following a resurgence in cases and virus-linked deaths.

At the time, the WHO Africa office said efforts were focused on vaccinating all contacts of possible Ebola patients “to break the chain of transmission within the community.”

Ebola, a tropical fever that first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and the DRC, is transmitted to humans from wild animals.

It can also spread through contact with bodily fluids of infected people or of those who have succumbed to the virus.

Ebola caused global alarm in 2014 when the world’s worst outbreak began in West Africa, killing more than 11,000 people and infecting nearly 29,000 as it swept through Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.