Probable deaths from Ebola in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have risen to 201, of which 166 have already tested positive in the laboratory, according to the latest data released last night by the Congolese Ministry of Health.
The total number of infections reached 326, of which 291 were confirmed, as of 9 November, making this epidemic the most serious in the history of the DRC, since no other of the ten outbreaks in the African country since 1976 had ever exceeded 318 cases.
More than three months after the epidemic broke out on 1 August in the eastern regions of North Kivu and Ituri, it is still far from abating because its epicenter is in a conflict zone, where around 100 armed groups operate.”No other epidemic in the world has been as complex as the one we are currently experiencing,” confirmed Congolese Health Minister Oly Ilunga in a statement yesterday.
Violence and instability in the affected areas make it difficult for health workers to work and make it impossible to contain the virus, with hundreds of thousands of displaced people who could have been in contact with the disease.
In an attempt to combat this rejection, field entities such as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) or the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have survivors in their communication teams, who speak to the sick as equals and show them that Ebola can be beaten if treated in time.
The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said this week after a field visit that “the end of the disease is still far off” and described the efforts made by volunteers and medical staff as “really commendable”.
Since the start of the vaccination campaign on 8 August, some 28,303 people have been inoculated, mostly in the cities of Beni – the centre of a second wave – Mabalako, Mandima, Katwa and Butembo.