DRC discharges last Ebola patient from a treatment facility

DRC discharges last Ebola patient from a treatment facility
Semida Masika, the last patient being treated for Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is seen after she was discharged from hospital, on March 3, 2020.

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The DRC has discharged the last Ebola patient from a treatment center located in the North Eastern town of Beni according to the country’s Ministry of Health. This comes after more than a year after an Ebola outbreak was declared in DRC in August 2018.

The discharge of the late patient means that the country will now embark on a 42-day journey before it can be declared Ebola free.

Although the patient has been allowed to leave, 46 people who had come in contact with her are still being monitored. Similarly, all the aspects of the Ebola response remain in place to ensure that any new cases are detected quickly and treated. The end of the outbreak can only be ascertained when no infections arise 42 days after the last reported case has tested negative.

In a statement issued by the African office of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa applauded all the efforts made by all stakeholders to fight the disease.

“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. 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,” Moeti said.

Uganda’s Minister of Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng in an earlier interview told this publication that Uganda could be declared Ebola free once DRC had no more new cases.

DRC discharges last Ebola patient from a treatment facility
Last Ebola patient in DR Congo leaves treatment centre

“We have not reported any case of Ebola in the country. The few cases we had were spills from DRC. Until such a time when there are no more cases in DRC, Uganda cannot say it is Ebola free,” Dr Aceng said.

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While the Ebola outbreak was in July,2019 declared as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by WHO after cases were reported in towns neighboring other countries, no outbreaks of the disease were reported in any of the nine countries bordering DRC. However reports of spilled cases were reported in Tanzania and Rwanda.

As of February 2, 2020, a total of 3,428 EVD cases, including 3,305 confirmed and 123 probable cases have been reported, of which 2,250 cases died (overall case fatality ratio 66 per cent). Of the total confirmed and probable cases, 56 per cent (1920) were female, 28 per cent (966) were children aged less than 18 years, and 5 per cent (172) were healthcare workers.