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Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Ends

Red Blood Cells and Red Artist Interpretation of Ebola Virus Structure
Credit: Shutterstock

Today marks 42 days, or two incubation periods, since the last survivor tested negative for Ebola Virus Disease (Ebola) in the Equateur Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This milestone allows the DRC Ministry of Health (MOH) and the World Health Organization to officially announce an end to the outbreak.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, congratulated the DRC MOH and partners on their tireless work to achieve this goal, noting “this is a tremendous accomplishment, particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Efforts to quickly detect new cases of Ebola must continue for at least six months as cases due to sexual transmission or relapse are always possible following an outbreak.

A key part of the response – with potential lessons for the global fight against COVID-19 – was the vaccination of more than 40,000 people at high risk of contracting the virus, the WHO said in a statement. 

“The technology used to keep the Ebola vaccine at super-cold temperatures will be helpful when bringing a COVID-19 vaccine to Africa,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “Tackling Ebola in parallel with COVID-19 hasn’t been easy, but much of the expertise we’ve built in one disease is transferrable to another and underlines the importance of investing in emergency preparedness and building local capacity.”

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