Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi has voiced hope that the Ebola epidemic in his country would be stamped out by the end of the year.
“We believe that by the end of the year we will have eradicated the disease entirely,” Tshisekedi said during a visit to Berlin.
The epidemic began in August 2018 in North Kivu province before spreading to neighbouring Ituri and South Kivu — a remote and largely lawless region bordering Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
It has killed more than 2 000 people to date and is the second Ebola outbreak deadliest on record after an outbreak that struck West Africa in 2014-16, claiming more than 11 300 lives.
DRC officials have introduced two vaccines to fight the epidemic.
The Ebola virus is passed on by contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected or recently deceased person.
Following an incubation period of up to three weeks, a high fever develops, along with weakness, intense muscle and joint pain, headaches and a sore throat.
This is often followed by vomiting and diarrhoea, skin eruptions, kidney and liver failure, and internal and external bleeding.
The death rate is typically high, ranging up to 90% in some outbreaks, according to the WHO.
The virus’s natural reservoir is suspected to be a tropical bat which does not itself fall ill but can pass on the microbe to humans who hunt it for food.