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Kinshasa - The Democratic Republic of Congo released its last confirmed Ebola patients from treatment centers on Monday, health authorities said, beginning a 42-day countdown to declaring the country free of the virus.
Monday's release of six patients from treatment centers in the North Kivu region could mark the end of a month-long resurgence of the 2018-20 epidemic, which killed more than 2,200 people before it was initially declared over in June 2020.
Twelve cases have been reported since the virus re-emerged at the beginning of February, killing six people. It's been three weeks since North Kivu health authorities have detected a new case.
An Ebola outbreak is typically declared over once 42 days have passed, after blood samples from the last confirmed case tests negative for a second time.
Meanwhile, an Ebola outbreak in Guinea was probably sparked by a latent infection in the human population rather than from the virus jumping the species barrier, a World Health Organization official said on Friday. (Full Story)
Ebola can be transmitted to humans from animals like bats or monkeys. It can also live on in parts of the body of survivors otherwise in good health such as the eyes, breasts and testicles and sometimes still be transmitted, for example through semen.
(This story was refiled to repair garbled text in fourth, fifth paragraphs) REUTERS