Kinshasa: In the second deadliest Ebola outbreak since 2014, that killed 11,000 in West Africa, 629 people have lost their lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to UN Secretary-General spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, about 1,041 new cases of Ebola have been confirmed in the region.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) says a marked increase in the number of Ebola cases in that country took place this week, highlighting the difficult environment and the multitude of challenges confronting the response to the outbreak,” Dujarric said on Friday, reports Xinhua.
“Some 338 patients who received care at Ebola treatment centers have now been discharged,” the spokesman added.
The WHO has said that raids on Ebola treatment centers by “non-state actors” have deterred locals from seeking aid, including getting the vaccination for high-risk subjects.
However, there are a few positive outcomes from the mechanisms put in place by WHO. “The agency reports that a recent shift in the response strategy to promote greater engagement and ownership by affected communities is beginning to produce results,” Dujarric said.
Health minister of DR Congo, Oly Ilunga Kalenga, earlier said that for the first time a vaccination programme had protected approximately 76,425 people and prevented “thousands” of deaths.
“I believe we have prevented the spread of the epidemic in the big cities,” he said.
“The teams also managed to contain the spread of the epidemic to neighboring countries…The biggest problem is the high mobility of the population,” the minister added. The deadly virus was first reported in the North Kivu region in Congo, bordering Uganda and Rwanda.
Ebola first appeared in 1976 in Sudan, followed by DR Congo. The virus can be transmitted to humans from wild animals. Symptoms of the disease include fever, severe headache, and hemorrhaging.