The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has officially declared the end of its 11th Ebola outbreak on Wednesday; six months after the first cases of the deadly virus were reported.
The WHO made the announcement via Twitter alongside DRC Minister of Health, Eteni Longondo.
“It wasn’t easy, but we’ve done it!” tweeted Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization’s Regional Director for Africa.
According to the WHO, it had been 42 days since the last confirmed case tested negative and no new confirmed cases have been reported since September 28.
The outbreak began on June 1 in the country’s western Equateur Province, just as another outbreak was winding down in the country’s east. The eastern outbreak was the world’s second-deadliest Ebola outbreak on record, and was officially declared over on June 25 — but the one in Equateur was just beginning.
It has been reported that almost 70% of Ebola victims have died in this outbreak, many before they even got to a treatment center and by the time the Equateur outbreak ended, 130 confirmed cases — 75 recoveries and 55 deaths was recorded. The two outbreaks were geographically far apart, and genetic sequencing analysis confirmed they were unrelated.
The WHO said it used new cold chain freezer storage to keep the Ebola vaccine at extremely low temperatures for up to a week, allowing responders to vaccinate people in communities without electricity.
“Overcoming one of the world’s most dangerous pathogens in remote and hard to access communities demonstrates what is possible when science and solidarity come together. Tackling Ebola in parallel with Covid-19 hasn’t been easy, but much of the expertise we’ve built in one disease is transferable to another and underlines the importance of investing in emergency preparedness and building local capacity,” said WHO Regional Director for Africa.