KINSHASA – The Democratic Republic of the Congo has announced it has registered the first case of Ebola in over three weeks in the northeast of the African country.
The new case detected in the northeastern city of Beni, one the urban centers affected most by the virus, came about after the patient was exposed to bodily fluids of a person who had recovered from the epidemic, according to the most recent report by the Health Ministry.
The city of 230,000 residents has registered the most cases of Ebola and deaths from the virus; 235 cases and 127 deaths, respectively, during the current outbreak.
The Health Ministry on Feb. 20 declared the epidemic was under control in the city, where no new cases had been detected in 21 days.
A total of 859 Ebola cases have been registered in the northeast of DRC, 794 of which are confirmed cases, while 536 people died from the epidemic, including 471 confirmed cases.
According to ministry figures, 82,583 people have been vaccinated against the virus with an experimental treatment.
The outbreak has affected the eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri since August. Ituri was also struggling with violence on the part of dozens of armed groups.
The fact that health workers have no access to several areas due to insecurity as well as societal skepticism hamper efforts to put an end to the epidemic.
This outbreak has spread in areas of dense population, unlike nine other earlier flare-ups of the disease in the Central African country, all of which had been in isolated, rural areas.
This is the 10th Ebola outbreak and became the most deadly one in the history of the country, surpassing the one that hit the northern village of Yambuku late in August 1976.
Considered as the first registered Ebola outbreak, the 1976 epidemic left 280 people dead.
The most devastated Ebola outbreak on a global level was declared in March 2014, with cases dating back to December 2013 in Guinea and then it spread in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Nearly two years later, the World Health Organization declared the end of the epidemic, which killed 11,300 people and infected over 28,500 people.
Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of infected people or animals, and is widely feared for its mortality rate of up to 90 percent and for causing heavy internal and external bleeding.