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DRC may be declared Ebola-free in late November

25 October 2014, 08:30

Geneva - The Democratic Republic of Congo could be declared Ebola-free in late November, as its two-month outbreak apparently fizzles out, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.

The DRC outbreak, which involves a separate strain of Ebola from the one raging in west Africa, began in August.

There have been 66 cases and 49 deaths - including eight fatalities among healthcare workers - and the authorities have been working hand in hand with WHO to monitor anyone who had contact with a sufferer.

"All the contacts have been traced and monitored, and the last one has now tested negative for Ebola twice, having recovered," WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told reporters.

Also Read: Mali isolates nurses amid alarm after first Ebola case
"That was on October 10, so we need to count two incubation periods and then we'll be able to declare the end of the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo," she said.

An Ebola incubation period lasts 21 days, meaning that the DRC could be declared Ebola free within 42 days, or around 22 November.

There are five known distinct species of Ebola and the outbreak raging in west Africa stems from the Zaire species - the deadliest of the lot.

That species caused the world's first known Ebola outbreak in 1976 in Zaire, now known as the DRC, which until now was the deadliest on record, with 280 deaths.

The west Africa outbreak began in Guinea in December 2013 and has claimed almost 4 900 lives, with Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone the hardest-hit nations.

The disease takes its name from the DRC's River Ebola.



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