Congo's Ebola outbreak over, health ministry says

Congo's Ebola outbreak over, health ministry says

An Ebola outbreak is normally declared over once 42 days have passed since blood samples from the last confirmed case test negative for the second time. Reuters file photo

Democratic Republic of Congo's health ministry on Tuesday declared an end to an Ebola outbreak believed to have killed 33 people, after 42 days with no new cases.

The outbreak, first detected in northwest Congo in April, was dealt with rapidly by the World Health Organization and Congolese authorities, including the deployment of an experimental vaccine given to over 3,300 people.

That helped contain the impact of the virus even when it reached the city of Mbandaka. With a population of 1.5 million, it has frequent air and river links to Congo's sprawling capital Kinshasa.

Ebola causes hemorrhagic fever and vomiting and is spread through direct contact with body fluids. An outbreak in West Africa which peaked in 2014 killed at least 11,300 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

"I declare from this day... the end of the Ebola ...epidemic in Equateur Province, Democratic Republic of Congo," Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga said in a statement.

An Ebola outbreak is normally declared over once 42 days have passed since blood samples from the last confirmed case test negative for the second time.

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