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Health minister declares end of Ebola outbreak

Health Minister Alain Moka announced on Thursday an end to the latest outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Republic of Congo. He told reporters in the capital, Brazzaville, that there had been no deaths due to Ebola, a virulent haemorrhagic fever with no known cure, since 22 April. He said sufficient time had passed to allow an official declaration of the end of the outbreak that erupted at the beginning of 2003 in the Cuvette Ouest Region, 500 km north of Brazzaville. Moka said a public information campaign conducted by his ministry and the ministry of communication helped prevent further spread of the disease. "However, more work remains to be done to consolidate the gains we have made so that in the event of future epidemics we will have a population and professional staff with a good understanding of how to react," he said. He added that countrywide training of medical staff would take place with funding provided by the World Bank. At the end of May, the African Development Bank, the continent’s foremost financial institution, granted the Congo US $500,000 for the government to acquire information-gathering material and to train staff in its use, and to procure communication equipment to help fight the spread of Ebola. By early May, the number of Ebola cases identified in Cuvette Ouest had risen to 175, with 136 deaths, the bank said. Authorities were first alerted to a possible Ebola outbreak when a band of gorillas in the region began dying in December 2002. Tests carried out on the bodies confirmed that they had died of Ebola. The latest outbreak was believed to have been caused by villagers eating primates infected by Ebola. Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with body fluids of infected persons or other primates. Between 50 percent and 90 percent of Ebola victims die.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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