Congo’s Health Ministry said Friday that 14 new Ebola deaths had been recorded, taking the toll to 1,008 deaths from confirmed and probable cases.
Since the virus appeared last August, health organizations have struggled to keep up with the mounting number of infections spreading across the country. Medical professionals have turned to new vaccines and experimental treatments.
Equally as concerning is the rate of armed attacks being conducted at treatment centers by militias in eastern Congo as well as the constant challenge to win the trust of rural communities.
Jeremy Farrar, an infectious disease specialist, and director of the global health charity the Wellcome Trust, told Reuters that without some progress or effort on the part of the community, the virus will continue to spread.
Although the World Health Organization said the risk for an international epidemic is low, the virus could potentially spread to neighboring countries.
“This epidemic will not be brought under control without a really significant shift in the response,” he said. “Community trust and safety, as well as community engagement and ownership of the response is critical.”
Over 115 attacks against medical personnel and centers have been reported since January.
There was an attempted assault on an Ebola treatment facility in the city of Butembo Thursday, but nobody was injured and the assailants were captured, said Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program.