Just two days before the World Health Organization would have formally announced the end of the Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo, and 52 days after the most recent case was announced, director general Tedros Ghebreyesus instead announced a new case of the deadly virus.
The unexpected news means the outbreak, which began in August 2018 and has killed more than 2,200 people, will go on for at least a couple more months before health workers can be sure it has been exhausted.
“At two days before the end, it is sad for us,” said Marie Roseline Belizaire, who manages part of the Ebola response for the WHO. “But we were still in response mode. And we will continue to be in response mode till the end.”
The outbreak, the 10th in Congo, is the second-worst ever, after the epidemic that swept through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia between late 2013 and 2016. The new case announced on Friday is a 26-year-old man in Beni, a city of a few hundred thousand in eastern Congo that has been the epicenter of the outbreak for most of its duration. The man died, the Congolese government announced later Friday.
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