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Congo declares end of Ebola outbreak that killed six

epa07802957 Protective equipments are hung to dry at an Ebola transit center in Beni, North Kivu province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 29 August 2019. The death toll from the DR Congo's Ebola epidemic, an outbreak declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is expected to pass two thousand soon. EPA-EFE/HUGH KINSELLA CUNNINGHAM

KINSHASA, May 3 (Reuters) - The Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday declared the end of an Ebola outbreak that infected 12 people in the eastern province of North Kivu and killed six of them.

The outbreak was contained using Merck’s Ebola vaccine, which was given to more than 1,600 of the patients’ contacts and contacts of contacts, according to the aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).

The cases were genetically linked to the 2018-20 Ebola epidemic that killed more than 2,200 people, the second-highest toll recorded in the disease’s history.

The flare-up emerged on Feb. 3. In the city of Butembo with the death of a woman whose husband had contracted the virus in the previous outbreak.

Ebola causes fever, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhoea and spreads among humans through bodily fluids.

“I am pleased to solemnly declare the end of the 12th epidemic of Ebola virus disease in North Kivu Province,” health minister Jean-Jacques Mbungani said in a statement.

“Despite the security context and the COVID-19 pandemic, the rapidity and efficiency of the response put in place by the government and its partners made it possible to defeat this pandemic in less than 3 months,” he said. (Reporting by Jessica Agasaro Writing by Hereward Holland Editing by Bate Felix and Andrew Heavens)

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