Amid coronavirus crisis, WHO has good news on another virus: Ebola1 min read . Updated: 25 Jun 2020, 07:30 PM IST
- Congo has suffered many Ebola outbreaks since the virus was discovered near the Ebola River in 1976
The second-largest Ebola outbreak on record is over after nearly two years and more than 2,200 deaths, Democratic Republic of Congo said on Thursday, even as a separate flare-up of the virus continued on the other side of the country.
Despite effective vaccines and treatments that dramatically boosted survival rates, the outbreak dragged on as first responders struggled to gain access to virus hotspots in Congo's restive east.
"Today we are celebrating a joyous occasion - the end of the 10th #Ebola outbreak in #DRC. This outbreak took so much from all of us, especially from the people of Flag of Congo - Kinshasa, but we came out of it with valuable lessons & tools: a licensed vaccine, identified effective treatments," tweeted Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization.
Congo has suffered many Ebola outbreaks since the virus was discovered near the Ebola River in 1976, more than double any other country.
Its equatorial forests are a natural reservoir for the virus, which causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea and is spread through contact with body fluids.
"It wasn’t easy and at times it seemed like mission impossible," said Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization's Africa regional director.
Even as health officials celebrated the end of one Ebola epidemic, they face another, unrelated one more than 1,000 km (620 miles) away in the western city of Mbandaka.
That outbreak, declared on June 1, has seen up to 24 cases so far, including 13 deaths.
Longondo he said he expected the response there to be easier because it is in a more stable part of the country where a previous epidemic in 2018 was quickly controlled.
The largest Ebola outbreak in history occurred in West Africa from 2013-2016. It killed over 11,300 people mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Meanwhile, WHO has warned that the world faces a shortage of oxygen concentrators as the number of worldwide cases of coronavirus infection nears the 10 million mark.
"Many countries are now experiencing difficulties obtaining oxygen concentrators," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference. "Demand is currently outstripping supply."