The Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the world's second-largest outbreak of the disease ever recorded, may finally be coming to an end. On March 3, 2020, the last patient with a confirmed case of Ebola was discharged from a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Ebola treatment center in Beni, in North Kivu province. If there are no new cases, the epidemic could be declared over by mid-April. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends waiting two full incubation periods—42 days—after the last person tests negative a second time before declaring the end of the outbreak.
While this was a milestone moment in the outbreak, it is too soon to celebrate. And even when the outbreak is officially declared over, should we celebrate then? Ever since the outbreak was first declared on August 1, 2018, there has been a massive international response—known as the Riposte—aimed at bringing it under control. Here, Trish Newport, emergency coordinator for MSF’s Ebola response in DRC, looks at some of the problems associated with the response and warns that we must learn from our mistakes to better manage future outbreaks.