- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 25, 2020

The northeastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday marked the official end to the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history that began nearly two years ago and killed 2,280 people.

“Compared to previous outbreaks, this last one was the longest, the most complex and the deadliest,” said Health Minister Eteni Longondo, Reuters reported.

While effective vaccines that showed a significant increase in survival rates were deployed, the virus continued to spread as armed groups and rural communities were skeptical of the new treatment and first responders struggled to access some of the hot spots in the region.

Over 420 attacks were carried out on health facilities by armed groups, according to the BBC.

“It wasn’t easy and at times it seemed like mission impossible,” said Matshidiso Moeti, regional director of World Health Organization Africa, during a virtual press conference. “This is a sign of hope that, with solidarity and science, epidemics can be controlled.”

Despite Thursday’s milestone, the country faces substantial health challenges in the face of the novel coronavirus, the world’s largest measles epidemic, and another Ebola outbreak in the north.

The World Health Organization had expected to announce the end of Eastern Congo’s outbreak in April, but a new case was reported three days before the declaration would have been made, restarting a 42-day period before an end can be announced.

Congo has seen 11 outbreaks of Ebola since it was first discovered in 1976. The largest Ebola outbreak in history killed more than 11,300 people between 2013 through 2016 in West Africa.

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