Congo declares end of Ebola virus outbreak, what is Ebola virus?


The Democratic Republic of Congo on May 3, 2021, declared the end of the 12th outbreak of Ebola virus disease that infected 12 people in the eastern province of North Kivu and killed six of them.

The aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) informed that Merck’s Ebola vaccine was used to contain the outbreak. The vaccine was administered to 1,600 patients and their contacts and contacts of contacts.

Upon examination, a genetic link was found between the cases as of present and the 2018-20 Ebola epidemic. The outbreak during 2018-20 recorded over 2,200 people deaths, the second-highest toll in the entire disease’s history.

The latest resurgence was noted on February 3, 2021, in the city of Butembo when a woman, whose husband had contracted the virus during the previous outbreak, died.

“I am pleased to solemnly declare the end of the 12th epidemic of Ebola virus disease in North Kivu Province,” health minister Jean-Jacques Mbungani said in a statement.

What is Ebola Virus Disease?

•Ebola virus was first discovered near the Ebola river (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1976. Since then, the virus has gripped several African countries.

•It is known to be a highly contagious and deadly virus that compromises the immune system in ways that leads to heavy bleeding internally and externally. Symptoms include headache, muscle pain, fatigue, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, organs failure, etc.

•The average fatality rate stands at 50 per cent. The per-case fatality rate has ranged from 25 per cent to 90 per cent throughout the past outbreaks.

•The virus jumps from animals to humans and transmits further among people through human-to-human contact.

Ebola Virus: Diagnosis

It was next to impossible to diagnose the Ebola virus in humans due to the symptoms resembling malaria, meningitis, typhoid, etc, but the confirmed diagnosis of this virus infection was made possible with the following methods:

•RT-PCR (Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction)

•Serum Neutralization Test

•ELISA (Antibody-capture Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay)

•Electron Microscopy

Ebola Virus: Vaccine

•Vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV proved to be effective in neutralizing the Ebola virus during a trial in Guinea in 2015.

•Vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV has been used in the 2018-2020 outbreak and recent 2021 outbreak.

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