DRC: New Ebola case reported in Beni raises fears of renewed epidemic

Healthcare workers are waiting to disinfect their Ebola virus control equipment in Beni in October 2019 (illustration image). REUTERS / Zohra Bensemra

Text by: RFI Follow

The end of the Ebola epidemic will not be declared this Monday, April 13. After 52 days without new cases, the country announced on Friday that a person died in Beni from the consequences of Ebola. Little information has been given on this new case at this stage.


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With our correspondent in Kinshasa, Patient Ligodi

The news was like a bomb. It was during the meeting of the Emergency Committee of the International Health Regulations on the Ebola virus that the information was given by Dr. Eteni Longondo, Congolese Minister of Health.

The purpose of the meeting was to assess the magnitude of the situation and to determine whether the epidemic continued to be a public health emergency of international concern.

Some of the participants in this meeting, including teams from the Ministry of Health, WHO and other UN agencies, were already preparing their end of epidemic communication. Certain structures had even published balance sheet statements on Friday without mentioning this new case.

26-year-old man found dead at home

Communication at this stage from the technical secretariat of the response to Ebola is very sketchy. The lapidary statement published in the middle of the afternoon spoke of a 26-year-old man living in the Beni territory, without giving further details. According to information gathered by RFI, one of the points considered worrying in terms of follow-up is that it was discovered that he had Ebola after his death.

Meetings are underway to accurately trace the history of this case. At this stage, many questions are still unanswered. Is this an imported case? Is there an epidemiological relationship with a former patient? Are we facing a new epidemic? The Minister of Health announces that the teams that were already disengaged from this area will quickly return to avoid another drama.

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