Congo’s Ebola outbreak now 2nd largest in history, WHO says

Simon Moss
December 2, 2018

That includes 379 confirmed cases and 47 probable ones.

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.

Ebola has killed 240 people and infected more than 400 in the DRC since July this year in an outbreak that shows little sign of abating. Some field activities, including vaccination, were temporarily halted in Beni, the outbreak's epicenter, on November 17 following attacks by an armed rebel group.

'Our country is struck with Ebola outbreaks too often, which also means we have unique expertise in combatting it, ' said DRC's minister of health Dr Oly Ilunga Kalenga.

Last month, the WHO heeded the recommendation of an expert advisory committee to not declare the Democratic Republic of the Congo's latest Ebola epidemic a public health emergency of worldwide concern - a proclamation that would have mobilized more resources and garnered global attention.

So far this outbreak declared on August 1, has 198 confirmed deaths, with another 47 probable ones, Congo's health ministry said. Al Jazeera reported that "attacks by rebel groups and open hostility by some wary locals have posed serious challenges to health workers".

Ebola was first identified in central Africa in 1976.

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The epidemic disease is believed to have killed more 245 people, spread across 14 health zones with 426 cases of infection. "These trials will contribute to building that knowledge, while we continue to respond on every front to bring the current outbreak to an end".

Insecurity in the east of the country has affected the Ebola response.

Nearly 200 people have died in this outbreak of Ebola. "But the problem is, working in such an unstable area, you have to be assured of safety of the vaccinators, and you have to be able to trace the potential contacts and get them vaccinated", Peter added.

'No other epidemic in the world has been as complex as the one we are now experiencing, ' said Dr Oly Ilunga Kalenga, the DRC's health minister.

The trial aims to determine which of the four leading Ebola treatments - referred to by the World Health Organization as mAb114, Regeneron, Remdesivir and ZMapp - proves most successful in combating a virus that can have a high fatality rate.

This is what happened in Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, when people with malaria were filling Ebola treatment centres during the West African outbreak in 2014, he said.

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