During the previous outbreak in Equator Province, which lasted from June to November 2020, there were 130 confirmed cases and 55 deaths.
“Thanks to the determined response of the national authorities, this outbreak was put to an end quickly with limited transmission of the virus,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
A total of 2,104 people were vaccinated in the outbreak that just ended, including 302 contact workers and 1,307 frontline workers, according to the WHO.
To facilitate the rollout of vaccination, an ultra-cold chain freezer was installed in Mbandaka, allowing vaccine doses to be safely stored on site and delivered efficiently.
“We can be one step ahead”
The Democratic Republic of the Congo currently has 14 ebola outbreaks since 1976, six of which have occurred since 2018
“Africa is seeing an increase in Ebola and other infectious diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans and affect large urban areas,” said Dr. Moeti.
Noting that “important lessons” have been learned” from past outbreaks and applied to deploy an even more effective Ebola response, Dr Moeti stressed that: “We must be even more vigilant to ensure rapid case detection . This outbreak response shows that by strengthening preparedness, disease surveillance and rapid detection, we can stay one step ahead.”
The UN Health Agency supported DRC in implementing a strong national strategy developed early on to coordinate the response; decentralization of operations to the lowest level for close cooperation with communities; evidence-based response; and regular epidemiological risk analysis to rapidly adjust responses.
Although the outbreak in Mbandaka has been declared over, health authorities continue to monitor and stand ready to respond quickly to any outbreaks.
The WHO has warned that it is not uncommon for sporadic cases to occur following an outbreak.