February 16, 2019

WHO warns of ‘perfect storm’ for Ebola in eastern Congo

27 September 2018, 11:41 | Randall Craig

Ebola still active in DRC

Health workers burn medical waste generated during care of patients with Ebola virus in Mangina near Beni in the North Kivu province

Treatment centres will stay open but vaccinations and the tracing of people who have been in contact with suspected Ebola patients have stopped for now. Health officials have counted 150 confirmed and probable cases, including over 100 deaths.

Speaking to journalists at the United Nations in Geneva, Dr Salama noted that the global response to the major public health threat had been excellent and that donors have responded "very quickly and generously" to this latest outbreak, which is DRC's tenth since the 1970s.

"We also see a very concerning trend that resistance, driven by quite natural fear of this terrifying disease, is starting to be exploited by local politicians", Salama said at a news conference on Tuesday, "and we're very concerned in the run-up to elections, projected for December, that that exploitation. will gather momentum and make it very hard to root out the last cases of Ebola".

Ebola, which causes fever, severe headache and in some cases hemorrhaging, most commonly affects people and nonhuman primates, such as monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees.

The outbreak began in July and is the 10th to hit the country since 1976.

"If WHO and its partners had to leave North Kivu ... we would have grave concerns that this outbreak would not be able to be well controlled in the coming weeks or months".

The ADF rebels have killed more than 1,500 people in the Beni region since October 2014.

Reports say 18 people died including 14 civilians.

On Sunday, while some residents were in mourning, others gathered in front of the hospital in Beni to protest against growing insecurity in the Ebola-affected area.

The attack underscores the challenges the government and health organisations face in tackling Ebola in an area where years of instability has undermined locals' confidence in the authorities.

Though agencies continued the health work to contain Ebola, such attacks hamper those efforts.

World Health Organization has managed to vaccinate more than 11,000 people against Ebola, but workers are starting to see more people who are reluctant to get the vaccine.

The experimental rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine, made by pharmaceutical company Merck, proved highly protective against the deadly virus in a major trial in Guinea, according to WHO.

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