(CNN) – The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) health authorities announced a new Ebola outbreak on Friday after a case was confirmed in Mbandaka, northwest of Equateur province, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. Saturday statement.
It is the third outbreak in the province since 2018 and the 14th Ebola outbreak in the country since 1976, the WHO said.
“Time is not on our side,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “The disease has a two-week lead and we are now playing catch up. The positive news is that the health authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have more experience than anyone else in the world with rapid control of the Ebola outbreak.
So far, only one case has been confirmed, the WHO said. The patient was a 31-year-old man who began to experience symptoms on April 5. After being ill at home for more than a week, he sought treatment at a local medical facility. The man was admitted to the Ebola treatment center on intensive care on April 21, but died later that day, the WHO said.
Healthcare professionals recognized the symptoms of Ebola and “immediately” submitted samples for testing, the WHO said. “Efforts to stop the current outbreak are already underway,” the organization said, and vaccination will begin in the coming days.
“Many people in Mbandaka are already vaccinated against Ebola, which should help reduce the impact of the disease,” Moeti said. “Everyone who was vaccinated during the 2020 epidemic will be revaccinated.” The doctor who discovered Ebola warns of the deadly viruses that are yet to come
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The deceased patient received a “safe and dignified funeral, which involves modifying traditional funeral ceremonies in a way that minimizes the risk of infecting participants with contagious fluids,” the WHO said. Everyone who came into contact with the patient is identified and will be monitored and the medical facility where the patient received care was decontaminated, the organization added.
Previous outbreaks in Equateur Province occurred in 2020, when 130 cases were reported, and in 2018, when 54 cases were reported, the WHO reported.
“Ebola is a serious, often fatal disease that affects humans and other primates,” the WHO added. Mortality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks, but effective treatment is available, and if patients receive it on time, their chances of survival will “significantly improve,” he said.
The equatorial forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo were the focus of the Ebola crisis in the Central African country, which killed more than 2,000 people between 2018 and 2020.
Since the virus was first discovered near the Ebola River in the northern region of the DRC in 1976, the DRC has more outbreaks of Ebola than any other country.