Officials admit it is hard to track where the Ebola virus – which has killed 77 – is spreading in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Monday, September 3, 2018
By Paul Martin

The fever has been spreading near the city of Beni in the country’s north-east
Health officials say it is difficult to keep track of where the virus is spreading
There have been 86 confirmed cases of the deadly Ebola fever since August 1
Experts say the country’s efforts to stop the disease are a ‘global first’

3 September 2018

There are still ‘substantial risks’ in the area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the grip of a deadly Ebola outbreak, the World Health Organisation has warned.

The UN agency says that although efforts to stop the virus spreading are working, it is proving hard to keep track of where the virus is active.

Four new cases surfaced last week in people who did not appear to have come into contact with other infected patients, causing concern for health workers.

The official warning came just days after the death toll rose to 78 in the central African country on August 28.

There have been 86 confirmed cases of the deadly infection since the outbreak began on August 1, with dozens more suspected.

But experimental drugs and vaccines are being rolled out in the North Kivu region in a world-first bid to treat people already infected and prevent new infections.

The DRC’s Ebola outbreak is now entering its second month and the WHO said on Friday ‘substantial risks’ remain in trying to control the virus.

Global health officials said that while control measures appear to be working, health officials are still unable to track exactly where the deadly virus is spreading.

Four of the 13 new cases from the city of Beni were not previously identified as contacts, meaning officials don’t know how they were exposed to Ebola.

An important part of preventing the spread of the virus is monitoring people who have been in contact with others infected with the fever, to make sure they don’t develop symptoms and spread the infection.

If people develop the infection without coming into contact with previous patients it could mean the virus is coming from elsewhere.

This makes it harder for health workers to track down and contain all the sources of the fast-spreading disease.

The WHO also reports ‘sporadic instances’ of high-risk behaviors like unsafe burials, which could worsen the outbreak because Ebola can still be caught from corpses.

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