Earlier this week (2 March) a treatment centre in the town of Beni in the north east of the DRC discharged its last Ebola patient, marking the beginning of a 42-day countdown that, it is hoped, will see the outbreak declared officially over. While the patient has been allowed to leave the treatment facility, around 46 people with whom she came into contact are still undergoing monitoring; in fact, all response measures, including surveillance, pathogen detection and clinical management, are still in place, and will remain so until the countdown has passed.
“I applaud the tireless efforts that have been made to respond to this outbreak,” said World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti, “and I’m truly encouraged by the news that the last Ebola patient has left the treatment centre healthy. It is not yet the end of Ebola in the DRC. We must stay vigilant in the coming weeks and beyond.”
The outbreak, the second-worst globally after the West African epidemic of 2014-2016, began on 1 August 2018. Between then and 1 March this year, there were 3,444 cases (confirmed and probable) and 2,264 deaths.