The World Health Organization (WHO) chief says the Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) can be brought to an end in six months, if everything goes as planned. Latest figures from the DRC Ministry of Health put the number of Ebola cases at 927, including 584 deaths.
Militants attacked an Ebola treatment center in the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing a police officer as the nation battles a growing epidemic that has killed hundreds.
Epidemiologists say recent data from the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest the virus is spreading undetected. During the last three weeks of February, 43percent of the people who died from Ebola in Katwa and Butembo were found dead in their communities — not isolated in hospitals in the late stages of the illness, when the disease is most infectious.
Until the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, Ebola outbreaks had been sporadic, small, and largely confined to isolated rural villages in Central Africa. But the 2014 epidemic broke all the rules and killed more than 15,000 people; since then, more outbreaks have been reaching larger urban centers, sometimes resulting in uncontrolled spread.
Since the beginning of the year, more than 40 per cent of new cases are people who died of Ebola in the communities. At the epicenter of the epidemic, in Katwa and Butembo, 43 per cent of patients in the last three weeks were still being infected without known links to other cases.
The response is being compounded by mistrust from the community who resent the influx of both national and international responders. There are also high levels of movement both inside and outside the country with experts fearing the spread of the disease beyond DRC's borders.
Re-infections could happen in places where the outbreak was brought under control, World Health Organization (WHO) warns
The epidemic has been highly challenging to contain because it is occurring in what is effectively a war zone. Progress has been slow, with small gains generally followed by setbacks that have occurred when violence has broken out in the affected provinces of North Kivu and Ituri.
After the attack, the health ministry said 32 of the 38 people being treated for suspected cases had fled. Eight of the 12 patients with confirmed cases had remained in their beds, leaving four unaccounted for.
Armed assailants attacked an Ebola treatment center in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday, setting off a fire and becoming embroiled in an extended gun battle with security forces, health officials said.