Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo tops 1,000 cases as death toll hits 600

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
By Paul Martin

A total of 1,022 people have been infected and 639 killed in the African nation
Nearly two thirds of everyone who has caught the virus since August has died
Experts warn the outbreak is far from over and people are still avoiding medics

27 March 2019

More than 1,000 people have now been infected with Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The death toll stood at 639 in the African nation yesterday, as the outbreak of the deadly virus enters its eight month.

Health workers are still struggling to contain the infection, which has killed almost two thirds of people who have caught it.

In the past month five treatment centres have been violently attacked, the country’s health ministry said, and people still don’t trust the medics.

Last week, authorities confirmed the virus – which causes severe fevers and uncontrollable bleeding – had spread to the city of Bunia and killed at least one.

Around a million people live in the city, which is 125miles (201km) north of Beni, where most of the outbreak has been centered.

The government said it has managed to ‘limit the geographical spread’ of the disease, but authorities are under no illusions about stamping it out.

‘I think all of us in the field are aware that we’re very far from being near the end of this outbreak,’ said Tariq Riebl, a member of the International Rescue Committee.

‘The increase in cases also shows we are catching up with all the transmission that we haven’t previously been aware of.’

In recent weeks, more than 40 percent of new cases in the hotspot towns of Katwa and Butembo had no known links to other cases, meaning doctors have lost track of where the virus is spreading.

Health workers have been better prepared than ever for the latest epidemic, which has become the second largest ever.

New technologies like a trial vaccine, experimental treatments and futuristic cube-shaped mobile units for treating patients have helped curb the spread of the virus.

But public mistrust and insecurity have hampered the response.

The World Health Organization said many people are still refusing to seek medical care and are dying at home.

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