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42-day countdown to declare the end of Ebola begins as last patient is discharged in DRC

A treatment centre in the north-eastern town of Beni Monday discharged the last Ebola patient in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), World Health Organization (WHO) officials in DRC have revealed. The officials say with no more confirmed cases, a 42-day countdown to declare the end of the world’s second-deadliest Ebola epidemic began on Monday, March 2.

However, 46 people who had come in contact with the last patient are still being monitored. 

Since the end of the outbreak can only be ascertained if no infection cases are confirmed in 42 days, after the last reported case tested negative, all equipment for Ebola response remain in place to ensure that any new cases are detected quickly and treated.

“I applaud the tireless efforts that have been made to respond to this outbreak and I’m truly encouraged by the news that the last Ebola patient has left the treatment centre healthy,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa. “It is not yet the end of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We must stay vigilant in the coming weeks and beyond.”

Since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak, which was declared on 1 August 2018 and as March 1, there were 3 444 confirmed and probable cases and 2 264 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.

As of 18 February 2020, 172 healthcare workers have been infected.

The outbreak is the DRC’s tenth and the second-worst globally after the 2014–2016 epidemic in West Africa.

In Uganda, one imported case (reported on 29 August 2019) died on 30 August 2019 in Kasese district, which borders North Kivu. However, as of today, there have been no reports of autochthonous transmission in Uganda.

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