A second Ebola outbreak has hit Congo as the country struggles to cope with coronavirus and the world’s largest measles outbreak, health officials have announced.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo had not yet declared an official end to Ebola in its troubled east, where at least 2,243 people have died since an epidemic began there in August 2018.
But the World Health Organisation (WHO) says authorities in the country have now identified six cases, including four deaths in the north near Mbandaka.
“This is a reminder that COVID-19 is not the only health threat people face,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.
Unicef said four other people were being held in isolation at a hospital in Mbandaka,
The victims died on 18 May but test results confirming Ebola only came back over the weekend, Congolese health minister Eteni Longondo said.
The WHO said it already had teams on the ground in the country.
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It is the 11th time Ebola has hit the province since the virus was first discovered in Congo in 1976.
An outbreak killed 33 people two years ago, before the disease was brought under control in a matter of months.
The latest cases appeared in Wangata health zone near the port city of Mbandaka, which is home to 1.2 million people.
Health officials in the east are still waiting to declare an official end to the epidemic after nearly two years.
The last known patient in the region was released in mid-May but the country must go around another month without any new cases before a declaration can be made.
Coronavirus has also been detected in seven of Congo’s 25 provinces.
More than 3,000 confirmed cases and 72 deaths have been recorded. However, like many African countries, its testing has been extremely limited and it is feared the true toll is much higher.
And while COVID-19 and Ebola have received far more attention, measles has killed more Congolese than those diseases combined.
The WHO said there had been 369,520 measles cases and 6,779 deaths since 2019.
“This quadruple threat could prove lethal for millions of children and their families,” said Anne-Marie Connor, national director in Congo for the aid organisation World Vision.
Source : Sky News