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DR Congo 'Ebola free'

November 15, 2014

The health minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo says his country is free of Ebola. Congo's three-month outbreak killed nearly 50 people. The viral strain involved was different the one ravaging West Africa.

Ebola Krankenhaus Sierra Leone 11.08.2014
Image: picture alliance/AP Photo

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) declared itself free of Ebola on Saturday after a three-month outbreak of the viral disease claimed the lives of 49 people.

Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi said no new cases had been registered since October 4.

He warned, however, that "the end of the epidemic … does not mean we are completely out of danger."

"Like every other nation, the Democratic Republic of Congo remains threatened by the possible import of the Ebola virus disease raging in West Africa," he added.

Viral strain differs

The outbreak raging in western Africa stems from the Zaire strain, the deadliest of the five known viral versions, which leaves body organs bleeding.

Zaire, now known as DRC, was where the world's first known Ebola outbreak occurred in 1976. The disease takes its name from the DRC's Ebola River.

The West Africa epidemic has killed over 5,000 people, according to figures released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday.

Liberia lifts state of emergency

On Thursday, Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ended a state of emergency - a sign that the situation could be improving in one of the countries hardest hit by the viral strain.

"I have informed the leadership of the national legislature that I will not seek an extension of the state of emergency," Sirleaf announced.

He said authorities and officials were now able to "sustain our fight against the virus" without the additional emergency measures, imposed in early August.

"The fight against Ebola is [not] over," Sirleaf emphasized.

sb/ipj (AFP, dpa)