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News > World

DR Congo: Death Toll From Second Ebola Outbreak Rises to 492

  • A WHO worker shows an anti-Ebola vaccine in Mbandaka, DR Congo, May 21, 2018.

    A WHO worker shows an anti-Ebola vaccine in Mbandaka, DR Congo, May 21, 2018. | Photo: EFE

Published 9 February 2019

Insecurity is one factor which prevents the containment of Ebola in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri.

The Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Friday estimated that there have been 492 deaths due to the recent Ebola outbreak that is affecting North Kivu and Ituri, two provinces in the northeast of the country.

DR Congo: New Ebola Cases Set Devastating One-Day Record

In a report with figures up until Feb. 6, the authorities indicated that 438 deaths have been confirmed through laboratory tests and some 189 others are probable. Likewise, the total number of contagious cases is 791, of which 737 are confirmed and 54 are probable.

The control of the epidemic has been resented by both the refusal of some members of various communities to receive treatment and insecurity in the area, where numerous armed groups operate.

The Ministry of Health also warned about messages posted on social networks in which it was reported that some women had agreed to have sex in exchange for receiving a job in the campaign against Ebola.

"Although local women's NGOs have already denounced some of these messages as rumors aimed at tarnishing the image of women working in campaign, we cannot ignore these accusations," the Ministry of Health press release said and recalled that all the Ebola-related services are completely free.

This second outbreak happens only eight days after the Congolese Health Minister, Oly Ilunga, proclaimed the end of the previous epidemic in the west of the country.

This epidemic has already surpassed that of the first recorded Ebola outbreak in the history of DRC, which occurred in the town of Yambuku in 1976 and left 280 deaths among 318 cases.

Since Aug. 8,  2018, when the vaccination campaign began, more than 75,500 people have been inoculated, mostly in the cities of Mabalako, Beni, Mandima, Katwa and Butembo.

The Ebola virus is transmitted through direct contact with blood and contaminated body fluids, causes hemorrhagic fever and can reach a mortality rate of 90% if not treated in time.

In Africa, the most devastating global outbreak was declared in Mar. 2014, with cases dating back to Dec. 2013 in Guinea, a country from which it expanded to Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Almost two years later, in Jan. 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the end of the epidemic, in which 11,300 people died and more than 28,500 were infected.

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