The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed the last patient who was being treated for Ebola in a treatment center in the Democratic Republic of Congo was discharged on Tuesday, reported Reuters.
The patient’s release brings the 19-month-old outbreak closer to an end. During the Ebola outbreak, which began in August 2018, the virus has killed 2,264 people and infected nearly 1,200 more, making it the second-worst Ebola outbreak in history. The 2013-16 Ebola epidemic in West Africa had killed more than 11,000 people.
“I applaud the tireless efforts that have been made to respond to this outbreak and I’m truly encouraged by the news that the last Ebola patient has left the treatment center healthy,” Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa, said in a statement.
Dr. Moeti cautioned that it is not yet the end of Ebola in the DRC. He advised the people to stay vigilant in the coming weeks and beyond.
The WHO said even as the number of cases declined last month and Ebola was overshadowed by the rapid spread of coronavirus around the world, it continued to believe the outbreak constituted an international health emergency.
Upon her discharge from the treatment center, the Ebola survivor Masika Mawasu Semida said she was delighted to be headed home. She thanked all the health workers.
“As I am the last survivor, I say thank you very much and praise be to God,” Masika said.
Although the last Ebola patient has been declared virus-free, the 46 people who had come in contact with the patient have been put under strict observation.
Tuesday marked the 14th day without any new confirmed Ebola cases in the country, according to Congolese health officials. The outbreak will be declared over once 42 days have passed without a new case – equivalent to two cycles of 21 days, the maximum incubation period for the virus.