Congo president says Ebola outbreak should be over this year

Congo's President Felix Antoine Tshilombo Tshisekedi gestures during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (not pictured) at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany November 15, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - An outbreak of Ebola in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo should be eradicated by the end of 2019, Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi said on Friday.

The epidemic in Congo was declared in August 2018 and has so far killed nearly 2,200 people, making it the second-worst outbreak of the virus on record behind the 2013-16 West African outbreak that killed more than 11,300.

The rate of new cases has fallen substantially in recent weeks, according to government data.

“There are still a few isolated cases in Ituri (province) but we think that by the end of the year we can completely stop that,” Tshisekedi said at a news conference in Berlin alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

New vaccines and treatments have helped contain the outbreak, but public mistrust and armed conflict in eastern Congo have hampered the response.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Writing by Alessandra Prentice and Aaron Ross; Editing by David Clarke and Giles Elgood