In its daily update, the Democratic republic of Congo Health Ministry said protests in Beni and Butembo severely disrupted the Ebola response, hampering vaccination, safe burials, and lab functions in Beni, and the usual volume of follow-up on health alerts.
Since the outbreak was declared in August, health officials have recorded 583 confirmed and suspected cases as of December 25. About a third of the patients have recovered, while 354 have died.
A toxic blend of factors – internal displacement, violent attacks, mistrust of aid and the long-delayed presidential elections – has helped spread Ebola in North Kivu, a province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With more than 500 confirmed cases and 300 deaths, the current outbreak has become the worst in the nation’s history.
Outbreak logisticians are the people who supply the response teams, who find them beds to fall into at the end of exhausting days, and food to sustain them and vehicles to transport them.
To contain an ebola outbreak, it’s crucial that 100% of the contact list is documented and tracked. If this is broken, then a spread should be expected.
Healthcare workers have been attacked, vaccination campaigns halted, and experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were recalled from an outbreak zone due to security fears. This is all despite the DRC hosting the UN’s largest peacekeeping force.
Efforts to trace contacts of people with Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been hampered by mistrust in conflict-ridden outbreak zone.
Attacks by armed groups happen on a daily basis across Congo’s North Kivu province, where the Ebola virus has been spreading since August, infecting almost 500 people and killing more than 270.
Since September, the incidence of Ebola has more than doubled, according to World Health Organization (WHO) situation reports. The majority of people with recently identified Ebola were not on existing lists of contacts of people with previously identified cases — which indicates a high degree of unrecognized transmission in the community.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) tropical medicine advisor Tomas Jensen describes the challenges MSF teams face as they fight to contain the spread of the disease in an area of active conflict.