The ‘worst day of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo’ as 14 new cases are diagnosed in 24 hours as death toll reaches 439

Thursday, January 24, 2019
By Paul Martin

A further 14 cases of the deadly virus were confirmed, taking the total to 713
Nine were in Katwa, a city of thousands close to the Ugandan border
The rapid spread in this area is threatening Uganda and Rwanda, experts said

By VANESSA CHALMERS
DAILYMAIL.COM
24 January 2019

Democratic Republic of the Congo recorded its largest one-day increase of Ebola cases yesterday, as the country’s deadly outbreak shows no signs of slowing.

A further 14 cases of the virus were confirmed yesterday, taking the total to 713 cases since the epidemic was declared in August.

Nine of the new cases were in Katwa, a city of a several hundred thousand people just outside Butembo.

Several other zones in this district have been hit already, and fears are growing that the disease could spread into Uganda and Rwanda.

The virus has already taken the lives of 439 people, making it the second worst outbreak in history, after the 2013-2016 outbreak in West Africa.

The health ministry said in a daily bulletin that the area near the Ugandan border has emerged as the outbreak’s new epicentre.

The ministry also announced six new deaths of confirmed cases as well as the recovery of one patient.

It comes just days after health officials expressed concern about Ebola travelling south and reaching the city Goma, which sits on the border with Rwanda.

Goma has almost double the population of Butembo, meaning there is a much higher potential for the virus to spread quickly.

If Ebola does make it to the major city of Goma then ‘all bets are off’ for the bid to control the outbreak, one health official said earlier this week.

In preparation, the WHO and DRC’s health ministry have already sent rapid response and vaccination teams to Kayina, and set up a lab in Goma as a precaution.

More than 60,000 people have been vaccinated against the virus already, in an outbreak which is the second worst in world history.

But even with vaccinations and diagnostics and knowledge from the worst ever outbreak in 2014 – which killed 11,300 – the DRC is still struggling.

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