Eastern Congo is experiencing its fourth Ebola outbreak in less than three years, and Minister of Health Eteni Longondo says officials are working quickly to try to "eradicate the epidemic as soon as possible."
Health officials said a woman died of Ebola on Feb. 3 in the town of Butembo, in North Kivu province. The woman had felt sick for several days before getting tested, Longondo said, and died in the hospital before her results came back. Officials cautioned that it is still unknown how she contracted Ebola, but she is the wife of a survivor.
Ebola is highly contagious and can spread through bodily fluids. It was first discovered in Congo in 1976, and there have been 12 outbreaks since, including one that began in the summer of 2018 and ended last June. That outbreak in eastern Congo left 2,299 people dead.
Researcher Jason Kindrachuk told The Associated Press that while knowing about an outbreak in the early stages can help, "back-to-back Ebola outbreaks and COVID-19 has stretched Congo's health systems to the limit and this could put far greater strain on an already exasperated system."