Ebola continues to ravage DR Congo, as two soldiers fall, on DWN EBOLA | Dialysis World Nigeria - DWN
Ebola continues to ravage DR Congo, as two soldiers fall, on DWN EBOLA
Date Posted: 31/Jan/2019   Deadline: 31/Jan/2019

A deadly outbreak of Ebola in a conflict-ridden region of Congo has claimed the lives of two soldiers as its latest victims.


The outbreak has killed some 400 people in six months, as attacks by armed groups on health workers have hampered efforts to contain the disease, army and health sources said. Army spokesman Major Mak Hazukay told AFP: “Two of our soldiers have died from the Ebola virus in Beni. Three others are under observation. All necessary measures have been taken to stop the troops from being contaminated.”


Doctor Michel Tosalisa, responsible for the affected Beni region, confirmed the soldiers had died from Ebola.


The two men brought the total toll to 459 recorded deaths, according to official data, and have also shone a harsh light on the difficulty of containing the epidemic in DR Congo’s conflict-torn east, where the virus has thrived.


In eastern and northern parts of the central African country, 682 confirmed cases of Ebola have been recorded and 54 probable cases, the health ministry said.


Health workers have saved 257 Ebola patients, the ministry added. Once present in humans, Ebola causes haemorrhagic fever, severe vomiting and diarrhoea and is spread through direct contact with body fluids. It is often fatal.


The fight against Ebola depends on tracing people who may have had contact with the disease and could fall ill and spread it further.


But the epidemic is in regions where frequent fighting is hobbling containment efforts, making it hard for health workers to move around and monitor potential victims and raise awareness on prevention and protection measures.


Most of the reported cases this past month have been in Katwa health zone, where the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Ebola workers faced “pockets of community mistrust” and most of those falling sick were not on lists of people suspected of coming into contact with the virus.


Late last week, the WHO said the outbreak had spread to the south into an area with high security risks.


The UN health agency said in a statement issued on Thursday: “The outbreak has also extended southwards to Kayina health zone, a high security risk area.”


Five people were reported ill in Kayina, which is wedged between the main affected zone and Goma, a big city close to the Rwandan border.


The WHO said it was taking measures to prevent Ebola from spreading into neighbouring countries.


After running an Ebola simulation exercise in Rwanda, the health agency said it was sending a team to boost the country’s preparedness and to inoculate health workers, who would be the first to come into contact with the virus if it crosses the border.


WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said: “The country is not only facing Ebola but other health threats, just to name malaria, cholera, vaccine-derived polio, and also a very long humanitarian crisis and a lot of violence in several regions.”


More than 60,000 people have been vaccinated against Ebola in DR Congo, and 2,500 in Uganda, one of the neighbouring countries also at “very high” risk from the disease.


Mrs Chaid added some 4,000 people with probable Ebola contact were under surveillance and 156 patients in hospital.


This is DR Congo’s 10th outbreak of the highly contagious disease since it was first identified in 1976 near the Ebola river in the northwest of the country.


The outbreak was declared on August 1 in the region of Beni, a major market town in North Kivu, and rapidly spread to neighbouring Ituri province.


The current epidemic is the most severe in the country’s history, and the second-biggest ever recorded.




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