New DRC Ebola outbreak grows to 9 cases, 5 deaths

June 3, 2020

Three more cases have been reported in a new Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC’s) Equateur, and health officials have fleshed out more details about the cluster of cases.

Yesterday the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the DRC had notified it of an outbreak in the northwestern part of the country involving six cases, four of them fatal. In an update, DRC officials reported nine cases, according to UNICEF, an increase of three. And one new death brings that total to five.

Index patient died on May 18

The WHO’s African regional office, in its weekly emergencies and outbreaks report, said that the new outbreak in Equateur province’s Mbandaka health zone, where a small outbreak was reported in 2018, initially consisted of a cluster of four deaths that occurred between May 18 and 30.

The index patient is a 27-year-old woman who died in a Wangata hospital on May 18. Three other people from her community died from an illness with similar symptoms in the following days.

A swab specimen was collected from the last patient who died. Then on May 31, a health worker who treated the patients, along with his wife, became ill and were isolated at Wangata hospital. Samples from those three patients tested positive for Ebola on Jun 1 at the National Institute for Biomedical Research (INRB) in Kinshasa.


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