Anatomy of an outbreak

How Congo learnt from the 2014 Ebola crisis and is dealing with the situation this year
The Ebola virus returned to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) just days after the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced, on July 24, that the Ebola outbreak had ended there. Congo says it has recorded a fresh outbreak in North Kivu province — the tenth instance in the country since the virus was discovered in 1976. At least four samples have tested positive and the majority of cases are in Mangina, about 30 km from Beni city, a densely populated area. But the outbreak in North Kivu, announced on August 1, appears to be a fresh and unrelated one, having occurred about 2,500 km away from Bikoro in Equateur Province where the last outbreak was first reported this May. “The detection of the virus is an indicator of the proper functioning of the surveillance system,” Congo’s Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga said in a statement.
“Ebola is a constant threat in the DRC. What adds to our confidence in the country’s ability to respond is the transparency they have displayed once again… we will fight this one as we did the last,” WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, tweeted.
The quick and proactive steps were not in vain. On July 24, WHO announced the end of the outbreak when a period of 42 days (two incubation periods) following the last possible exposure to a confirmed case had elapsed without any new confirmed cases being detected.
While it took nearly 30 months to control the 2014 West African epidemic (more than 28,600 people were infected and 11,300 died), it took less than three months in the case of the May 8 outbreak. On July 24, the total number of laboratory confirmed cases was just 38 (and 16 more probable cases) while the number of deaths was 33.
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