By | Rachel Brooks
Staff | Telegraph Local
Above, Africa News broadcast shows DRC’s health minister address the nation.
A new Ebola outbreak tears through the Democratic Republic of Congo as measles and COVID-19 also plague the Central African nation. The new outbreak was reported by Ars Technica on June 1. Health officials state that the new Ebola surge has come at a “challenging time.” Citing Ars Technica, the DRC has been struggling to curve the rates of Ebola since its first major outbreak in 2018.
As of Monday, June 1, Ars Technica reported that the DRC health officials have confirmed at least six cases of Ebola. The June 2020 Ebola outbreak marks the 11th outbreak of the disease since it was first documented. Ebola was first documented in the DRC in 1976.
As of June 2020, the outbreak has occurred in the western city of Mbandaka. Mbandaka is the capital of the Equateur Province. The city stands at the joining point of the Congo and Ruki Rivers. The World Health Organization states that this region is in the northwestern region of the DRC. In the Mbandaka city region, WHO puts the precise location of the outbreak near Wangata health zone. The Mbandaka region is a major trade location. It is also the home of over 1.5 million people.
Reuters also reported that the Wangata health zone outbreak is approximately 1,000 km (620 mile) from the lingering presence of the 2018 outbreak. The other outbreak zone is located in North Kivu province near the border of Uganda. The continued effort to subvert Ebola in this region has itself been stalled by armed conflict in the region. Armed conflict continues to be a severe problem, resulting in local citizen displacement and this community spread. Conflict continues to surge, with at least 40 killed in Samboko village in Ituri province within the last week, citing Al Jazeera America. Reuters cited health minister Eteni Longondo as the source regarding the Mbandaka outbreak.
The health ministry was two days away from declaring the North Kivu province outbreak as having ended when an outbreak renewed in April, citing Reuters. It is a possibility that the resurgence in North Kivu could reflect badly on the new outbreak in Mbandaka. Ebola was detected in Mbandaka in 2018. The current fear, also citing Reuters, is that the disease will spread rapidly in Mbandaka due to the large population density. While this would be critical, the greater fear is that it will reach Kinshasa. Kinshasa is the home of over 10 million people.
CBS corroborates reports that DRC is battling Ebola, measles, and COVID-19 all at the same time. Due to this and the continued armed conflict, the increased risk of Ebola resurgence and rapid spread is at a high. CBS reported that the surge of Ebola in 2018 in the Equateur Province killed 33 people and was brought under control in a matter of months. With other factors stacked against it, the number of casualties could be much higher or the rate of suppression much longer in the 2020 outbreak. There is also the risk of sharing to neighboring nations. Uganda reports a surge in COVID-19 cases, see the Daily Monitor. Uganda also itself experienced an Ebola outbreak in late 2019. With the community pull down of shared outbreaks, it is a possibility that Ebola would have a wider spread range during the 2020 outbreak.
This is a developing story.