June 17, 2019

Ebola cases triple in Congo as efforts to fight plague 'falter'

07 June 2019, 07:29 | Silvia Roy

DRC set to exceed 2,000 Ebola cases in second largest outbreak ever

Ebola survivor Jeanine Masika Mbuka holds two-year-old Ebola patient Furana Katunga

The world's second-largest Ebola outbreak began in North Kivu province and then spread into Ituri province, although it has not yet spread to neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.

Violent attacks on medical workers by rebels and suspicious locals are hampering efforts to curb the hemorrhagic disease that's killed 1 300 people in the past 10 months.

Five workers have been killed, according to an AFP tally, and important preventative work, such as vaccination programmes and burials of Ebola victims, has been delayed, said N'Daw.

These vaccinations are needed: the International Rescue Committee pointed out on Monday that it took 224 days to reach 1,000 cases, while it took barely 71 days to reach the threshold of 2,000 cases, or triple the number of cases per day.

Local mistrust of health workers and attacks on Ebola clinics by armed militias have contributed to an acceleration in what is now the second-worst outbreak of the virus on record.

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An Ebola outbreak that started in December 2013 in West Africa killed more than 11,300 people by 2016 before being eliminated.

Dr. Joanne Liu, worldwide president of Doctors Without Borders, said in March that the response to Ebola had to be more community-based, treating patients as humans, "not as a biothreat".

"Dr. Mouzoko's death moved me profoundly", WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement after the attack.

"But we are determined that we can and will end this outbreak", he added.

The deadly Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo has surpassed 2,000 cases and is picking up speed.

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"The current response to tackle Ebola isn't working", said Corinne N'Daw, Oxfam's country director in Congo.

Others don't trust the health workers, which leads people with symptoms to avoid treatment, thus making it harder to stop the virus spreading.

The 2,000 figure is a "sad and frustrating milestone".

"Every time there is an incident. we are not able to provide services and go into communities".

The ADF fighting in Beni happened on Monday night, interim town Mayor Bakwanamaha Modeste told DPA news agency.

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The rebel group frequently launches attacks on civilians but recently has been responsible for attacks on United Nations peacekeepers as well.

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