The World Health Organization says it expects the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo to be over by July 24. That will mark 42 days, two incubation periods of 21 days each, since the last patient infected with the Ebola virus was released from care.
The countdown toward the end of the Ebola outbreak in the DRC started on June 12. If no other cases of this fatal disease are identified by July 24, the DRC’s Ministry of Health will be expected to announce the end of the disease the following day in an elaborate ceremony in the capital, Kinshasa.
WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told VOA that the World Health Organization and partners were able to contain the virus in record time because of lessons learned from the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014 and ‘15. That epidemic killed more than 11,000 people.
“This time,” she added, “we had a new tool that we did not have before, a vaccine. And, potentially, this also made it easier to explain to the population that even if it is a serious disease, we can stop it and we have a vaccine to help stop it.”
Chaib maintains that WHO and partners will not let down their guard. Active surveillance for Ebola will continue and every suspected case will be promptly investigated.
A national survivors association is now being created to provide essential medical follow-up and psycho-social support to those who have been stricken with the disease and, fortunately, have lived to tell the tale.