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News > World

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

  • A mother hovers near her child's coffin in Beni, North Kivu Province, DR Congo, Dec. 17, 2018.

    A mother hovers near her child's coffin in Beni, North Kivu Province, DR Congo, Dec. 17, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 January 2019

DRC's current Ebola outbreak is the second-largest in history with 713 confirmed and probable cases and 439 deaths.

Authorities from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) confirmed 14 new Ebola cases Wednesday, which marks a new one-day record since the current outbreak was declared in Aug. 2018.

WHO: Ebola Threatening DR Congo Bigger Cities, Uganda, Rwanda

So far, some 439 people have died from the Ebola virus and another 247 have reportedly been infected in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri. The vaccination campaign has not yet successfully managed to reduce the number of infections since Ebola has spread to these locations.

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers that the spread of the virus is the second most serious epidemic in history, after the outbreak that affected West Africa between 2013 and 2016, when more than 28,000 confirmed cases were recorded.

U.S. Merck Pharmaceutical company announced that it will send about 120,000 doses of an experimental vaccine to the DRC. The company also said it is committed to having 300,000 highly effective immunizations available.

Congolese sanitary authorities indicated that, up to now, more than 63,000 people have been vaccinated but admitted that the vaccination campaign is being complicated by the attacks of rebels, deficient infrastructure and general hostility in some communities.

The international organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) also warned that the situation in some Congolese towns is not under controlled because the vast majority of cases remain unknown.

"The situation in Butembo and Katwa is absolutely not controlled," Laurence Sailly, the MSF coordinator in Beni, said, adding that "more or less, half of [the] confirmed cases are deaths."

Butembo and Katwa, both densely populated, represent the two main centers of progression of the epidemic at present. Also, due to the political crisis in the country, several health centers have been damaged, making it difficult to properly monitor the situation and, in turn, better be able to identify new cases.

"We are talking about a population that has had many years of conflict and now faces the most deadly Ebola outbreak the country has ever known," Sailly commented according to MediaCongo.

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