The Democratic Republic of Congo has reported a new case of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in a city in its northwestern region, four months after the end of the country’s last outbreak.
According to a report by the National Institute of Biomedical Research, a 31-year-old male in Mbandaka city tested positive for the deadly virus on Saturday.
The patient’s symptoms lasted for 16 days before his death on April 21, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), in a statement.
The report also shared that the patient did not seek treatment for more than a week after noticing symptoms, increasing the chance of a broader infection spread.
“Time is not on our side… The disease has had a two-week head start and we are now playing catch-up” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa.
However, the WHO has assured Africa that efforts to contain the disease are already underway in Mbandaka – a crowded trading hub on the banks of the Congo River where people live nearby.
DR Congo has seen 13 previous outbreaks of Ebola, and Mbandaka has contended with two – in 2018 and 2020.
The Ebola outbreak in 2018-2020, in the east of the country, killed nearly 2,300 people, the second-highest toll recorded in the history of Ebola hemorrhagic fever.
The last outbreak, also in the east of the country, infected 11 people between October and December and killed six of them.