The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) reminded us today that tomorrow, 24 July will mark 42 days since the last patient with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) was identified in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
If no other cases of the Ebola virus disease are identified, the DRC Ministry of Health will announce the official end of the outbreak on Wednesday 25 July.
The last surviving confirmed EVD case was discharged from an Ebola treatment centre (ETC), following two negative tests on serial laboratory specimens, on 12 June 2018. Before the outbreak can be declared over, a period of 42 days (two incubation periods) following the last possible exposure to a confirmed case must elapse without any new confirmed cases being detected.
Since the beginning of the outbreak (on 4 April 2018), a total of 38 laboratory confirmed and 15 probable cases (deaths for which it was not possible to collect laboratory specimens for testing) have been reported. Of these 53 cases, 29 died, giving a case fatality ratio of 54.7%. Twenty-eight (53%) cases were from Iboko, 21 (40%) from Bikoro and four (8%) from Wangata health zones. Five healthcare workers were affected, of which two died.
This announcement will come as a huge relief to the people living in the affected region as well as local and international responders. However, even after this important milestone is passed, this Ebola outbreak is a reminder of the persistent vulnerabilities that remain in the DRC and in many other parts of the world where weak health infrastructure leaves communities vulnerable to deadly disease outbreaks.
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