The spread of the Ebola virus has been restricted to within the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), since the epidemic broke out again in September 2018, an official has said.
No case of Ebola has been reported to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which the DRC is a member of since September last year. This is due to screening and surveillance platforms put in place at entry points and borders, by the 15 members of the regional bloc, said Professor Stanley Okolo, director general of the West African Health Organization in an exclusive interview with 7Dnews on Friday March 15th.
“We have very strong national coordinating public health institutions tasked with conducting surveillance at grass root level. We have early response, surveillance and preparedness as well as established and strengthened screening at the borders at all points of entry,” said Okolo.
The spread of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has continued with nearly 1,000 cases as reported by the African Centre for Disease Control ( Africa CDC) this week. Nearly 600 people died and 309 people have been cured since the epidemic relapsed in September last year.
Katwa and Butembo health zones remain the epicentres of the outbreak, reporting 71% of cases last month, with smaller clusters continuing to occur concurrently across a geographically dispersed area.
“We have the ability to know if there is any case of Ebola. We have been receiving reports weekly from 1,600 districts from our 15 countries about all hemorrhagic fevers including Ebola, and other public health concerns,” Okolo added.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday March 14th that the Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) can be brought to an end in six months, if everything goes as planned.
All member states of ECOWAS have been implementing the WHO’s Integrated Disease and Surveillance Response (IDSR) platform, as part of an effort to contain the spread of the virus, director general Okolo added.