United Nations issues DR Congo Ebola warning

The spread of Ebola must be carefully contained

Aid workers on the frontline of the Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are being met with significant suspicion in many communities in North Kivu - contributing to the 33 new confirmed cases of the disease last week, the worst on record since this most recent outbreak began in August.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has convened "an emergency committee" on the current outbreak in DRC's violence-torn North Kivu region, which has killed 135 people since August, the United Nations health agency said.

The goal of the meeting will be to determine if the ongoing situation in eastern DRC constitutes a public health emergency of worldwide concern, and what recommendations should be made to manage the outbreak.On Sep 28, the WHO raised the risk assessment of national and regional levels from high to very high due to ongoing security challenges in the region.Today Stat reported that American health personnel from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were pulled from the outbreak zone last month because of local insecurity.

This was in the Beni and Mabalako health zones, the two epicentres of the Ebola outbreak.

World Health Organization continued to warn that the recent spike in violent incidents in the areas was making response more hard. "It means that we are unable to follow up 80 percent of the people who are at direct risk of Ebola in Beni".

In some instances health workers have been chased out by residents who reject the existence of the virus.

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The deadly haemorrhagic fever, which spreads through contact with bodily fluids, causes fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, impaired liver and kidney function and, in some cases, bleeding internally and externally.

That mistrust has greatly hampered the response effort. The health ministry said 73 patients had received new experimental treatments.

Furthermore, health workers from the Red Cross have successfully responded to 190 safe and dignified burial alerts.

It added that it was also increasing the risk of the outbreak spreading within DRC, and to neighbouring countries, especially Rwanda and Uganda.

It said this raised the risk that the virus would continue to spread.

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