A young child has died after contracting the Ebola virus in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the first such case since the last outbreak of the virus in the country was declared over in May.
The Congolese Ministry of Health says the child died on Wednesday. Ebola was then confirmed in samples taken from the child and sent to the Goma office of the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB).
The Ebola case was located in Butsili in North Kivu Province. Butsili is close to the city of Beni, and about 50 kilometers from Butembo. Butembo saw a new Ebola outbreak earlier this year, which lasted three months and led to six fatalities among 11 confirmed cases.
Beni was at the heart of the 2018–2020 Ebola outbreak in DR Congo, and along with Goma is always a public health concern because of its role at the country’s borders. Both cities are business and travel hubs, with Beni linking to Uganda and Rwanda.
“It is not unusual for sporadic cases to occur following a major outbreak, but it is too soon to say whether this case is related to the previous outbreaks,” said the World Health Organization.
Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, said that while it’s true North Kivu has dealt with more than its share of Ebola in recent years, that also means it’s had a chance to become more prepared than some other places. The North Kivu health authorities are leading the current response with support from the Ministry of Health and WHO.
Image: WHO file