Tuesday , April 20 2021

The current Ebola eruption is worst in Congo's history: the ministry

KINSHASA: The current Ebola eruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the largest in the country's history with 319 confirmed and likely cases, the Ministry of Health said late on Friday.

Hemorrhagic fever is believed to have killed 198 people in northern Kivu and Ituri provinces, where attacks by armed groups and community resistance to healthcare officers have complicated the response.

Congo has suffered 10 ebola eruptions because the virus was discovered near the eponymous Ebola river 1976.

"The current epidemic is the worst in DRC history," said Jessica Ilunga, a spokesperson for the Reuters Department.

With more than 300 cases, the epidemic is also the third worst in the continent's history after the 2013-2016 outbreak in West Africa where over 28,000 cases were confirmed and an outbreak in Uganda 2000 by 425 cases.

World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday that security was the primary challenge in the current epidemic followed by social fidelity.

"When there is an attack, the operation is actually freezing. So we hold the operation. And when the surgery stops, the virus gets the benefit and it affects us in two ways," he told reporters in Kinshasa.

"And you end up in the backload, because when the activity is stopped, there is always a backload of vaccinations or contact tracking. And the other problem is that more cases are generated because we can not vaccinate them," he said.

Confirmation of new cases has accelerated over the past month, and an emergency committee from the World Health Organization experts said in October that the outbreak was likely to deteriorate significantly unless the response had been intensified.

(Reporting by Giulia Paravicini; Further Reporting by Fiston Mahamba; Editing of Alessandra Prentice and Hugh Lawson)

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