Ebola is no longer an active threat in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the World Health Organization.
The viral outbreak has been declared over after killing 29 people and injuring dozens more. Health officials had been waiting for the disease to subside following the release from care of the last known infected patient on June 12.
This public health victory is the result of “tireless efforts” of local teams who were able to quickly mobilize and contain the virus, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, said in a statement.
Additionally, more than 360 international workers arrived to help end the outbreak and the WHO was able to elicit $63 million in funding from donors.
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The success also reflects significant improvements that have been made to regional health care systems since the last major outbreak of Ebola in 2014, when 11,300 lives over three years.
Further, deployment of the first Ebola vaccine in 2016 gave health care workers an extra tool in their fight against the virus.
This latest outbreak seemed like it could have gone badly wrong, according to WHO, because it originated in an urban center of more than 1 million people that’s adjacent to the Congo River, a major transit corridor.
Efforts at containing the disease were also complicated by the continued practice of traditional burial methods, which exposed people to the virus.
Going forward, the WHO and local and regional partners will continue to strengthen the health care system and emergency protocols.
“We must continue to work together, investing in strengthened preparedness and access to health care for the most vulnerable,” he said.