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Congo records second Ebola death in days amid COVID-19 scourge

Congo records second Ebola death in days amid COVID-19 scourge

Democratic Republic of Congo recorded a second Ebola death on Sunday, in days following more than seven weeks without a new case, this is according to the World Health Organization.

Congo had been due on Sunday to mark an end to the second-deadliest outbreak of the virus on record, until a case was confirmed on Friday in the eastern city of Beni.

According to a Reuters report, the outbreak has killed more than 2,200 people since August 2018 in an area of the country where militia violence hobbled efforts to contain it.

The latest victim was an 11-month-old girl, who was treated at the same health centre as the previous case, a 26-year-old electrician, said Boubacar Diallo, deputy incident manager for the WHO’s Ebola response.

Officials say it is not yet clear how the electrician contracted Ebola. He had no affirmative contacts with other Ebola patients and was not a survivor of the virus who could have relapsed, according to the government.

Flare-ups or one-off transmissions are common towards the end of Ebola outbreaks, and a new case does not necessarily mean that the virus will spread out of control again.

Ebola causes fever, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhoea and spreads among humans through bodily fluids. During this outbreak it killed about two thirds of those it infected.

The WHO has identified 215 people who came into contact with the electrician, including 53 health workers at three facilities the man visited before he died, Diallo said. All but one of the health workers had already been vaccinated, he said.

Two new vaccines have helped contain the virus, though public mistrust and militia attacks prevented health workers from reaching some hard-hit areas.

In the unfortunate scourge of the deadly Ebola last week, DR Congo is also struggling with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which across the world has continued to cause panic throwing health sectors into devastation.

By April 13, 2020, the country had a record of 234 COVID-19 cases, out which 20 people had died of it while 16 had recovered.

On March 24, Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi declared a countrywide state of emergency, and shut down national borders in a bid to stop the potential spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Digital Desk, Metropol TV

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