The recent Ebola outbreak in the Dominican Republic of Congo has led to an alarming number of deaths, at over 300. Five-hundred-fifteen people are known to be affected by the disease, while many others are yet to be diagnosed. However, health officials and caregivers are encouraged by the youngest known survivor of the outbreak, an infant girl, according to CNN.
Bénédicte is an infant who was admitted to the hospital to receive treatment for Ebola back in October. She was only 6-days-old. Her own mother had succumbed to the disease while giving birth to her. Doctors and health care providers were determined to do everything they could to help the child make it through, taking shifts at her bedside so was receiving around the clock care. She was also assigned nannies who had already had the disease and recovered. As an extra precaution, all of her caregivers were required to wear protective garments to ensure they didn’t contract Ebola themselves. Miraculously, Bénédicte was released from the hospital this past Wednesday with a clean bill of health. Doctors are encouraged by this success, as it proves the disease is survivable if it is caught and treated early on.
This particular outbreak of Ebola in Congo began August 1. In general, symptoms start out mild, with a headache and fever. However, they often lead to hemorrhaging which can be fatal. Chances of survival aren’t great, with only about half of those infected expected to recover.
Tarik Jašarević, a spokesman for the World Health Organization, spoke out regarding plans to monitor known Ebola survivors. “Survivor monitoring activities commenced in Mangina and Beni on 24 November, followed by Butembo on 26 November,” Jašarević wrote in an email.
“46 staff were trained on the medical and psychological follow-up of survivors.”
As of now, there are 179 known survivors of the Congo outbreak. Health officials plan to check in on these survivors at least once a month for the next year.
This is the tenth outbreak of Ebola that the nation of Congo has endured since 1976. This particular outbreak is being called the second deadliest in history, the first being an outbreak in West Africa that led to the deaths of 11,000 people in 2014. The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ministry of Health has been working on a clinical trial focused on three separate drugs intended to fight the disease. They are also encouraging vaccinations. More than 45,600 people have received Ebola vaccinations since August alone.