Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo now 2nd worst in history

02 December, 2018, 12:40 | Author: Otis Hoffman
  • Ebola outbreak kills 19 under one week in DR Congo

Global health experts are urging the Trump administration to allow USA government disease specialists - "some of the world's most experienced" - to return to northeastern Congo to help fight the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history.

DRC and other health officials report a number of issues with this outbreak that are making efforts to contain quite challenging-North Kivu is home to a number of armed groups and the violence that goes with that is hampering efforts.

"A sad toll, with too many families losing loved ones", tweeted Peter Salama, WHO's emergencies director.

Congo's health ministry has announced 379 confirmed and 47 probable Ebola cases in the outbreak declared on August 1, citing 198 confirmed deaths.

Ebola caused global alarm in 2014 when the world's worst outbreak began in West Africa, killing more than 11,300 people and infecting an estimated 28,600 as it swept through Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

This clinical trial is the first-ever multi-drug trial for an Ebola treatment. Congo's health ministry has carried vivid accounts of residents, spurred by rumours, who have been trying to stop safe burial practices that halt the spread of Ebola from victims to relatives and friends.

The outbreak has been plagued by security problems, with health workers attacked by rebels in districts where the virus has been spreading.

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North Kivu and Ituri are among the most populous provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and share borders with Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan.

Attacks by rebel groups and open hostility by some wary locals have posed serious challenges that Ebola workers say they have never faced before.

Health workers found these were children being treated for malaria in the unofficial health centres - they believe people are confusing the two diseases because early symptoms, including fever, weakness and vomiting, are the same.

"No other epidemic in the world has been as complex as the one we are now experiencing", the Congolese health minister, Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga, said in a November 9 statement.

'We must continue to pursue a very dynamic response that requires permanent readjustments and real ownership at the community level'.

It has been reported that more than 126 people have recovered from the virus. In addition to tracking and treating cases, frontline health workers are vaccinating tens of thousands of people.

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