Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo which has killed nearly 700 people is spreading at its fastest rate yet – eight months after it was first detected…”spreading faster than ever”

Tuesday, April 2, 2019
By Paul Martin

Last week 73 new cases were reported, up from a record 56 in the week before
The outbreak began in August and has infected 1,089 people, killing 679
Experts hoped the outbreak would end by September but cases are on the rise

2 April 2019

The deadly Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is spreading faster than ever, health officials have warned.

Data shows 73 people were struck down with the killer virus last week – the highest weekly toll since the start of the outbreak last August.

And more cases are being diagnosed outside of areas where health workers are, suggesting officials are losing control of the battle to contain it.

More than 1,000 people have been infected with Ebola in the African nation, while the death toll is rapidly approaching 700 people.

Ebola, which causes fevers, uncontrollable bleeding and organ failure, is ravaging the north east of the African nation.

Efforts to control the outbreak had been reasonably successful and, just weeks ago, officials hoped it would be over by September.

But signs are now emerging of it spreading out of health workers’ grasp as violence and mistrust of medics are making it difficult to pin down.

Last week 73 new cases were recorded, following 56 in the week before – both were record numbers.

The previous worst weeks, which happened in January and November, had spikes of around 50 cases.

And a cause of major alarm for officials is that the cases appear to be spreading in areas away from treatment centres.

This means there is a higher chance the patients have spread the infection before they are diagnosed, because it may take longer for them to get treatment.

A total of 679 people have died in the outbreak, which has infected 1,089. Only 331 patients have recovered – a death rate of 62 per cent.

In the past two months, five Ebola centres have been attacked, some by armed militiamen.

This violence has led French medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) to suspend its activities in two of the most affected areas.

Another challenge has been a mistrust of first responders.

A survey conducted in September by medical journal The Lancet found that a quarter of people sampled in two Ebola hotspots did not believe the disease was real.

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