Ebola latest: Dangerous outbreak can ‘spread rapidly’, warns WHO boss

Thursday, August 16, 2018
By Paul Martin

THE latest outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo is “very dangerous”, with the potential to spread rapidly in what is effectively a war zone, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation, has warned.

Thu, Aug 16, 2018

A total of 57 cases – 30 confirmed at 27 suspected – have been reported in North Kivu in the east of the country, with 41 people having died so far.
Dr Ghebreyesus voiced his concern after a visit to the area, which is the scene of fierce fighting involving 100 armed groups.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, he said: “Before I went there I was really worried because of the different nature of the Ebola outbreak in eastern DRC.
“But after the visit I am actually more worried because of what we have observed there first hand.

“The environment is really conducive for Ebola to transmit freely. This is a very dangerous outbreak.

“What makes the outbreak in eastern DRC or northern Kivu more dangerous is there is a security challenge – there is active conflict in that area.”

Because of the ongoing fighting, some areas have been designated “red zones”.

As a result health officials and aid agencies find it difficult to access these areas, making it hard to find, isolate and treat potential cases.

Such areas were potential “hiding places” for the disease, which WHO figures suggest has a mortality rate of about 50 percent.

There have been 10 outbreaks of Ebola in the DRC in the last 40 years.

The latest cases are particularly worrying because unlike the previous outbreak, in the remote Equateur Province, North Kivu is home to more than 5.7million people, making it one of the country’s most densely populated regions.

Most of the cases are in the village of Mangina and the nearby town of Beni, although one case has been reported in the neighbouring province of Ituri.

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