Congolese authorities are racing to avert another Ebola outbreak, the 14th to strike the African country since the virus first appeared in 1976.
What most concerns health workers is that the time between outbreaks is shortening, implying that efforts to eradicate the virus are losing ground.
Six of the outbreaks have occurred since 2018, making it the most frequent occurrence in the country’s Ebola history.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the World Health Organization said that a single case had been confirmed in Equateur province, with urgent investigations underway to determine the source of the infection.
“Time is not on our side,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa.
“The disease got a two-week head start, and we’re now catching up.”
“The good news is that the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s health authorities have more experience than anyone else in the world in quickly controlling Ebola outbreaks.”
According to the WHO, a vaccination campaign will begin within the next few days.
Ebola infections are typically fatal, resulting in high fever and internal bleeding.
The largest outbreak of the disease occurred in West Africa in 2014 and 2015, resulting in over 11,000 deaths.
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