Sat | Jan 19, 2019

Baby recovers from Ebola in Congo outbreak

Published:Friday | December 14, 2018 | 9:47 AM
In this file photo from May, health workers in Congo prepare to administer Ebola vaccines. ( Sam Mednick/AP Photo)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — They call her the 'young miracle.' 

A baby who was admitted to an Ebola treatment centre 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.

The infant was discharged from the treatment centre 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.

The tiny survivor is named Benedicte.

In video footage shared by UNICEF, she is shown in an isolated treatment area, cradled in the arms of health workers in protective gear or cuddled by Ebola survivors, called “nounous,” who can go without certain gear such as masks. The survivors are crucial with their reassuring presence, the health ministry said.

“This is my first child,” her father, Thomas, says. “I truly don’t want to lose her. She is my hope.” He gazes at his daughter through the clear protective plastic.

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.

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