Ebola outbreak rises to 560 cases; Congo officials to try new response plan…(5 Shut Downs…Both Systems…)

Friday, December 21, 2018
By Paul Martin

By Susan Scutti, CNN
Thu December 20, 2018

More than 300 dead in Ebola outbreak 02:46

(CNN)As the Ebola outbreak continues to devastate the Democratic Republic of Congo, the minister of health visited affected areas to prepare for a third strategic response plan, which will cover the period from February to April, the ministry reported Thursday.

“This constant adaptation of the national strategy demonstrates the dynamic nature of this response to the most complex Ebola outbreak in the country’s history,” the ministry said in a statement. This is the 10th outbreak since 1976 in Congo, where the virus is endemic, and the second this year.

Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga visited the cities of Beni, Goma and Butembo in North Kivu province, which is the epicenter of the outbreak, according to the World Health Organization.

Cases have also been reported in neighboring Ituri province, which along with North Kivu is among the most populous in the nation. The two provinces border Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.

The total number of probable Ebola patients in this outbreak, which began August 1, is 560 as of Wednesday, with 336 deaths, the ministry stated. An additional 87 people who doctors suspect may be sick with Ebola are under investigation. The ministry also reported that 193 people have recovered from the life-threatening illness.

On average, Ebola — which causes fever, severe headache and in some cases hemorrhaging — kills about half of those infected, but fatality rates in individual outbreaks have varied. The latest outbreak has a case fatality rate of about 58%.

In addition to preparing for the third response plan, the minister took another look at the second plan, which covers the period November to January and was updated this month in order to strengthen the health system.

The minister also held meetings to ensure better leadership of the provincial health authorities in overseeing the operations of the response.

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