The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is joining the global public health community to mark the end of the Ebola Virus Disease (Ebola) outbreak in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The DRC Ministry of Health (MOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) officially announced the end of the outbreak that national and international response partners have been fighting since August 2018.
Today marks 42 days, or two incubation periods, since the last survivor in the eastern DRC Ebola outbreak tested negative for the virus. The outbreak was the country’s 10th Ebola outbreak and the second largest Ebola outbreak in history.
“The international effort to bring an end to Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo has been a true partnership between CDC, the Ministry of Health, WHO and U.S. government partners,” said CDC director Robert Redfield, MD. “CDC will continue the important work of confronting Ebola and other global disease threats with the mission to improve the human condition.”
Even with this announcement, work must continue. Given the continuing risk of re-emergence of Ebola through sexual transmission or relapse following an outbreak, Ebola surveillance should continue for at least six months after the outbreak ends. Additionally, cases due to a new introduction of the virus from the animal reservoir can occur, as seen in the Ebola outbreak confirmed on June 1, 2020 in Equateur Province, DRC. Given the possibility of additional cases, the CDC says it is critical to maintain the capacity to detect and respond to suspect cases.