Friday , September 24 2021

Ebola eruption not controlled in Democratic Republic of Congo

A doctor with a baby in his arms, possibly infected with the Ebola virus at & nbsp; Butembo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, November 4, 2018. & nbsp;
A physician with a baby in his arms, possibly infected with the Ebola virus in Butembo, Democratic Republic of Congo on November 4, 2018. (JOHN WESSELS / AFP)

So far, it has not done the headlines, but it can change because the news is worrying. The milestone of 200 deaths was exceeded on Sunday, November 11, in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo and more than 300 other cases are listed. WHO (World Health Organization) acknowledges that it can not stop the disease. The first cases were recorded last summer, and from week to week the balance sheet is heavier. It seems almost indescribable.

Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever transmitted primarily through blood or stools. And in almost all other cases it leads to death. Africa has already experienced several waves of epidemics for 40 years, the largest 2014 in West Africa, with more than 11,000 deaths. We are not there. But the WHO is worried that the affected area is difficult to access.

This region is the extreme northeastern part of this large country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, four times the size of France. It is the northern Kivu region, near Uganda and Rwanda, a region of war. And it creates an unprecedented situation: an Ebola epidemic has never been declared in a region of war. In this case, several militias, including the ADF's, almost meet Congolese Regular Army. It was fought again yesterday in the city of Beni, which has 300,000 inhabitants. This area is also known as the "triangle of death".

As a result, the work on humanitarians is complicated. They are themselves victims of aggression, for example three humanitarians are held hostage the week behind. The fight makes vaccination random and burials are sometimes difficult to perform. Identification of infection cases is complicated by emigration (people fly together) and the very high population density. And in addition, decades of battles in this area have created a disturbing law among residents: they do not even trust humanitarian staff. For all these reasons, doctors think that it will be very difficult to completely eradicate the strain. Some talk about a possible structural epidemic, which can take a very long time, and the balance sheet can therefore increase significantly over the months.

There is obviously a humanitarian mobilization. Several NGOs are present, such as Médecins Sans Frontières. And they perform two operations simultaneously: take care of people who are already infected with tests of new molecules: They have already saved one hundred patients. And especially vaccination, again testing new vaccine information. Nearly 30,000 people have been vaccinated so far. But the challenge is to identify the populations exposed to the virus. A challenge in a war zone.

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