The Democratic Republic of the Congo has confirmed the third Ebola case, also the first case in the urban area, in the latest Ebola epidemic declared early this month.
"This weekend, two suspected cases of hemorrhagic fever were reported in the health zone of Wangata, one of the health zones of Mbandaka City. After analysis, one of the two samples was positive, "said Congolese Minister of Health Orly Ilunga in a statement released late Wednesday night.
According to the minister, with this new case confirmed, the DRC is entering a new phase of the Ebola epidemic which now affects three health zones, including an urban health zone. Mbandaka is a crossroads between the northwestern province of Equateur and the neighboring provinces.
"From the outset, we consider that this epidemic is at high risk because of the particularities with the contamination of health professionals, reaching the three health zones in the proximity with the city of Mbandaka which is densely populated," added the minister.
At least 44 suspected cases have been registered since the beginning of the epidemic with 23 deaths including 1 confirmed Ebola death, according to the latest statistics from the Minister of Health.
On Wednesday, the authorities of the DRC have received 5,400 doses of vaccine against Ebola whose effectiveness was established during the last epidemic in West Africa.
"We will intensify the monitoring and tracing of the population to all air, sea and road access routes. The other cities in the province of Equateur as well as the cities upstream and downstream of Mbandaka on the river are also placed under health surveillance, "said the minister.
Since May 8, the DRC has declared that the country is facing a new epidemic of Ebola virus disease that constitutes a national and international public health emergency.
This is the ninth time that the DRC has been dealing with the Ebola epidemic since 1976. The last epidemic recorded by the country took place in May 2017 in the Likati Health Zone region, in the province of Bas-Uele. The Likati epidemic killed four people.