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DRC declares end of Ebola outbreak

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FILE PHOTO: A World Health Organization (WHO) worker administers a vaccination during the launch of a campaign aimed at beating an outbreak of Ebola in the port city of Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe

KINSHASA (Xinhua) – Health minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has officially announced the end of the Ebola epidemic.

“After a 42-day observation period, with no new confirmed cases recorded, and in accordance with international health regulations, I declare from this day, July 24, 2018, the end of the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in the province of Ecuador, DRC,” said Oly Ilunga in a statement made to National Television (RTNC).

The minister praised “the speed and efficiency of the response put in place by the government and its partners,” highlighting the vaccination for the first time of 3,300 people against Ebola.

The experimental vaccine, after being approved by the Congolese authorities, was injected to nearly 3,330 people by teams from the WHO and the Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

Nearly 800 alerts were studied while 1,706 contacts of affected people were identified and registered. Contact tracing activities were completed on June 27, according to the WHO.

Since the Ebola outbreak was declared on May 8, at least 54 cases were recorded with 33 deaths including 14 confirmed Ebola patients, according to the Ministry of Health.

This is the ninth Ebola outbreak the DRC has reported since 1976. The previous epidemic took place in May 2017 in the Likati Health Zone region, Bas-Uele province in the north. The Likati epidemic killed four people, according to the official data.

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