A new case of Ebola has been confirmed in the northwest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the National Institute of Biomedical Research said Saturday. Ebola broke out four months after the end of the country’s last outbreak.
The case occurred in a 31-year-old man who was detected in the city of Mbandaka, capital of Congo’s Equateur province, the agency said. A spokesman for the health ministry confirmed the findings.
The patient started showing symptoms on April 5, but did not seek treatment for more than a week. He was admitted to an Ebola treatment center on April 21 and died that same day, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement.
“Time is not on our side,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “This disease has started since two weeks and we are now catching up.”
Mbandaka, a bustling trading hub on the banks of the Congo River, has faced two previous outbreaks, in 2018 and 2020. Mbandaka is a city where people live close together, with a network of roads, water and air connected to the capital, Kinshasa.
The WHO said efforts to contain the disease were already underway in Mbandaka, and a vaccination campaign would start in the coming days.
Congo has recorded 13 previous Ebola outbreaks, including one in 2018-20 in the east that killed nearly 2,300 people, the second-highest toll on record in the history of the dengue virus.
The latest outbreak, also in the east, infected 11 people between October and December and killed six of them. [ah]
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