Ebola deaths top 400 in Congo as obstacles challenge health care workers

Thursday, January 17, 2019
By Paul Martin

By Susan Scutti
Thu January 17, 2019

(CNN)The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ebola outbreak, which began August 1, is continuing unabated in the new year.

The total number of probable patients is now 663, while 407 deaths are likely attributable to the viral illness, the Ministry of Health said Wednesday. An additional 123 people, who doctors suspect may be sick with Ebola, are currently under investigation. The ministry also reported that 237 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. The latest outbreak has a case fatality rate of 60%.

The current outbreak is the second-deadliest and second-largest in history, topped only by one in West Africa in 2014, when the disease killed more than 11,000 people, according to the World Health Organization.

Recent tweets from both Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director-general, and Dr. Peter Salama, WHO deputy director-general of emergency preparedness and response, address the “numerous” challenges of this epidemic.

Salama believes the current outbreak “is really several distinct outbreaks,” as North Kivu province remains the epicenter with additional cases occurring in neighboring Ituri province, according to the World Health Organization. The two provinces are among the most populous in the nation and border Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.

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