DR Congo marks six months since Ebola outbreak began

Today marks six months since the declaration of the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

There have been close to 700 confirmed cases, making it the second largest outbreak in history.

This is the 10th time DR Congo has been hit by an Ebola outbreak since 1976, and this is the country’s worst outbreak yet.

Nearly 400 people have died since the outbreak was declared in August with the survival rate of 37% according to Health ministry data.

The confirmed cases have been scattered in the eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri.

Response efforts continue to be hampered by community resistance and insecurity – as eastern DR Congo has suffered decades of conflict.

Insecurity in the affected areas limits movements of health workers, making it impossible, in some instances, to follow up on suspected cases.

However, a director of the health ministry’s Ebola response team on the ground told the BBC that denial of existence of the virus by some local communities is one of the main challenges to curtailing the spread of the disease.

With its partners, the Congolese Ministry of Health has installed nine Ebola treatment centres in the region and equipped and trained health workers.

To speed up the identification of new cases, six labs have been installed in the affected provinces.

Approximately 70,000 people have been vaccinated against the Ebola virus as part of containment efforts and millions of people screened all over the region.

Still, neighbouring Uganda and South Sudan remain on alert.

The longer the outbreak goes on, the more concern grows that it will spread across borders.

First Published 01.02.19: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world/africa

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