Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is killing an unprecedented amount of children as the death toll of the killer virus reaches 170

Monday, October 29, 2018
By Paul Martin

Children are being treated for malaria only to catch Ebola at healing clinics
Some 120 cases have been confirmed in the town of Beni alone, where it started
Of which at least 30 were under 10 years old and 27 youngsters died
DRC’s health authorities had put the death toll at 164 just last Friday
Some 267 cases have been recorded in total as officials warn of a ‘second wave

29 October 2018

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ebola outbreak has claimed 170 lives, health authorities said yesterday.

Officials in the African nation warned children are dying at an unprecedented rate because of the killer virus.

Jessica Illunga, spokeswoman for the DRC’s Health Ministry, blamed treatment at traditional healing clinics for the latest spate of deaths.

She said many youngsters are being treated for an unrelated malaria outbreak only to leave the clinics with Ebola and perish within days.

In the town of Beni, which has rocked a ‘second wave’ of cases since the start of the outbreak in August, 120 cases have been confirmed.

At least 30 of these cases have struck youngsters under 10, of which 27 have died, according to the latest data from the health ministry.

‘There is an abnormally high number of children who have contracted and died of Ebola in Beni,’ Ms Ilunga told Reuters.

‘Normally, in every Ebola epidemic, children are not as affected.’

This comes after officials put the DRC’s Ebola death toll at 164 just last Friday.

Nine new cases were confirmed on Saturday; seven of which were in Beni and two in the city of Butembo.

This was the biggest one day jump since the outbreak’s onset. In total, 267 cases have been recorded in the DRC’s latest epidemic.

The DRC’s outbreak, the 10th in its history, was declared on August 1 in the eastern part of North Kivu, which borders Uganda and Rwanda.

Fears of Ebola are heightened because of a devastating pandemic in western Africa in 2014 that killed more than 11,000 people.

Health workers in Zambia were being trained to deal with Ebola earlier this month amid fears it will spread from the neighbouring DRC.

Staff are learning how to recognise signs of Ebola, how to treat patients and how to stop the infection spreading in case it is transmitted by travellers.

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