Eastern DR Congo confirms first Ebola case

The eastern DR Congo province of South Kivu has recorded its first confirmed cases of Ebola in the country’s year-old epidemic, one of which was a fatality, the provincial government said Friday.

According to a statement released, “Two cases which tested positive for Ebola were confirmed overnight in South Kivu, in Lwindi district in the Mwenga region.

“A 26-year-old victim died and (one of their) children who tested positive is still alive and being treated,” it said.

More than 1,900 people have died from Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo since August 1, 2018, when the haemorrhagic virus erupted in North Kivu province and spread to neighbouring Ituri province.

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South Kivu Governor Theo Ngwabidje told reporters: “Teams from the national anti-Ebola coordination campaign arrived yesterday to provide support.”

World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted the outbreak in South Kivu “has sparked a rapid response… to provide treatment, identify all contacts, raise community awareness & begin vaccinating”.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said it was “rapidly deploying an expert team” to the area.

South Kivu had experienced a Ebola scare on July 31 when doctors briefly quarantined 15 people in the town of Birava over fears they were infected, but tests came back negative.

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Ebola is named after a river in northern DRC, then named Zaire, where the virus was first identified in 1976 by a Belgian-led scientific team.

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