They call her the “young miracle.” A baby who was admitted to an Ebola treatment center just six days after birth is now recovered from the virus.
Congo’s health ministry calls the baby the youngest survivor in what is now the world’s second-deadliest Ebola outbreak.
The ministry late Thursday tweeted a photo of the infant, swaddled and with tiny mouth open in yawn or squall, surrounded by caregivers who watched over her 24 hours a day for weeks.
The baby’s mother, who had Ebola, died in childbirth, the ministry said.
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The infant was discharged from the treatment center in Beni on Wednesday. “She went home in the arms of her father and her aunt,” the ministry said.
Experts have reported worryingly high numbers of children with Ebola in this outbreak, which Congo’s health ministry says now has 515 cases, 467 of them confirmed, including 255 confirmed deaths.
Children now account for more than one-third of all cases in this outbreak, UNICEF said earlier this week. One in 10 Ebola cases is in a child under 5 years old, it said, and children who contract the hemorrhagic fever are at greater risk of dying than adults.
While Ebola typically infects adults, as they are most likely to be exposed to the lethal virus, children have been known in some instances to catch the disease when they act as caregivers.
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Few cases of Ebola in babies have historically been reported, but experts suspect transmission might happen via breast milk or close contact with infected parents. Ebola is typically spread by infected bodily fluids.
Health expert have said this Ebola outbreak, the 10th in Congo, is like no other as they face the threat of attack from armed groups and resistance from a wary population in a region that had never faced an Ebola outbreak before. Tracking suspected contacts of Ebola victims remains a challenge in areas controlled by rebels.
The latest WHO assessment , released Thursday, simply calls the circumstances “unforgiving.”
And now, Congo is set to hold a presidential election on Dec. 23, with unrest already brewing .