Ebola In Congo: Dozens infected, Many confirmed dead

On Sunday, 5 August, the World Health Organization confirmed that the Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed 33 people including two health workers. Thirteen cases of the virus were confirmed across northeastern North Kivu province and neighboring Ituri province, DRC’s health minister said in a statement the previous day, with another 30 “probable” cases registered.

Almost 900 “contacts” – meaning people who may have come into contact with an infected person have been registered by the health ministry. A statement issued by the health ministry indicates that vaccinations were being deployed to the city of Beni, in North Kivu province. However, an “active conflict” in the area could prove to be a “major barrier” to health workers safely accessing the affected population, Peter Salama, a senior World Health Organization (WHO) official, warned last week.

W.H.O. released $2m from its contingency fund for emergencies to help fund DRC’s response to the newest outbreak.

Health officials announced the outbreak Wednesday, about a week after the government of Congo declared another Ebola outbreak in Equateur province had been contained. That outbreak was about 2,500 km (1,553 miles) from the current outbreak.  The worst Ebola epidemic occurred between 2013 and 2016 when it killed about 11,300 people in West Africa as it surged through Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

Ebola is passed from human-to-human by contact through the mouth, nose, or broken skin with blood or other bodily fluids by those infected. Humans contract the virus – which takes its name from the DRC’s Ebola River – from infected animals, typically fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, and monkeys.

Richard Ogundiya

Journalist & Techpreneur. Africa, communications and data.

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