EBOLA WARNING: Ignorance and escalating violence is increasing deadly virus, says doctor

Thursday, August 30, 2018
By Paul Martin

EXCLUSIVE: WIDESPREAD ignorance about the Ebola virus, coupled with escalating violence involving rival militias, is hampering the efforts of healthcare workers as they try to tackle the latest outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a senior CDC official has warned.

Thu, Aug 30, 2018

Dr Inger Damon was talking after a healthcare centre in the east of the country, scene of the latest outbreak, was set on fire by angry youths burned down a health centre in the village of Manbangu where vaccinations were underway, after learning of a death from Ebola.

She told Express.co.uk: “Education is key – this is something we find with every outbreak.

“Good engagement with the community is critical.

“If they don’t have the right type of information they tend to be very reactive.

Given that Ebola is a zoonotic disease, meaning it has been transferred to humans from animals, Dr Damon said there were ongoing concerns about the popularity of bushmeat – meat from wild animals including monkeys and even apes – in some African communities.

She said she and her colleagues were in the process of trying to establish the origin of the most recent outbreak, but stressed the importance of explaining the risks posed by close and unregulated contact with animals.

Dr Damon also pointed out the difficulties health workers were facing while they work in a region where warring rebel militias have clashed frequently in recent months.

She said: “It can be difficult to get access to those areas.”

Dr Damon’s comments come in the week Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation, (WHO) warned that the outbreak had not yet been stabilised.

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