Congolese authorities end quarantine on Cuvette Ouest

Brazzaville- Congo (PANA) -- Reassured by the absence of new deaths, the Congolese government has lifted a quarantine on Cuvette Ouest, where the Ebola epidemic had been rife, although the authorities are still to declare an end to the disease that claimed 128 lives.
"In view of the positive situation on the ground, the end of the epidemic will certainly be declared soon," said Prof.
Joseph Mboussa, who coordinates the fight against the disease at the Ministry of Health.
The government quarantined Cuvette Ouest last February to prevent the spread of the epidemic to neighbouring localities and countries such as Gabon and Cameroon.
"We have lifted all restrictions in the area by dismantling a military cordon that had been mounted to isolate the region," Mboussa told a news conference Wednesday, adding, "Schools and churches are now free to open, and people can freely move in and out of the region.
" The government has nonetheless maintained a team of epidemiologists that would continue to monitor the situation as well as sensitise the population on Ebola.
"Superstition has been a big obstacle in the fight against the disease.
That is why we are maintaining a team to educate locals on preventive habits," Mboussa said.
This is the third time Cuvette Ouest has been hit by Ebola, the first dating back to 2000 (16 cases, 10 deaths) and second between November 2001 and March 2002 in which 59 cases and 44 deaths were recorded.
The latest strike also killed 600 primates in the national park of Odzala, the biggest in the Central African subregion.
The epidemic is reportedly caused by the consumption of meat from primates and other animals found dead in the forest.

14 may 2003 22:31:00

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