Ebola cases in DRC top 2 000

The daily number of new Ebola cases has tripled in recent months, according to aid organizations. Local distrust and armed groups have hampered a response to the world’s second-largest Ebola


An escalating Ebola epidemic in conflict-wracked eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has surpassed the 2 000 cases mark, two-thirds of which have been fatal, according to government 

Since August last year, there have been 2 008 confirmed and probable cases with a death toll of 1 346, the DRC health ministry said late Monday.

The world’s second-largest Ebola outbreak began in North Kivu province and then spread into Ituri province, although it has not yet spread to neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.

Struggle to respond

Response efforts have been hampered by distrustful communities and a plethora of armed groups regularly threatening and attacking health workers and treatment centers.


Without access to communities, health workers struggle to vaccinate those at risk, treat those infected, or trace contacts to halt the spread of the highly contagious hemorrhagic fever.

Decades of conflict in the eastern Congo has made local communities fearful of the army and even UN peacekeepers accompanying health workers.

Some locals don’t believe Ebola is a disease and have hidden cases from health workers, meaning that the true number of infections and deaths may be higher than reported, the International Rescue Committee said.

“As violence and insecurity continue to hamper daily operations and mistrust prevents people from seeking care, these numbers are likely an underestimate and not a realistic picture of the number of cases out there,” the aid organization said in a statement.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said that in recent weeks there has a significant increase of between 15-20 new cases per day.

“This escalation is at least in part due to the precarious security situation in the affected area,” it said in a statement. “IFRC is concerned that partners limit their use of security or military support as much as possible. Increasing armed protection for Ebola responders may aggravate the tensions that already exist between communities and responders.”

On a positive note, more than 129 000 people, mostly health workers, have received an experimental but effective Ebola vaccine.

An Ebola outbreak that started in December 2013 in West Africa killed more than 11 300 people by 2016 before being eliminated. 

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Agency
External source

Related stories

Sudan’s government gambles over fuel-subsidy cuts — and people pay the price

Economists question the manner in which the transitional government partially cut fuel subsidies

Women accuse aid workers of sexual abuse during the DRC’s Ebola crisis

More than 50 women have accused Ebola aid workers from the World Health Organisation...

The foreign aid game is changing: these are the opportunities for Africa

A more explicit emphasis on the national interest may encourage donor countries to play ‘the long game’ in Africa

Human health, animal health and environmental health are inextricably linked

To take care of ourselves, we must take care of the world around us

Covid-19 deepens the educational divide

With the closure of schools, learning has moved to online platforms across the world, but a UNESCO report said only 12% of households in the least-developed countries have internet access at home

The coping mechanisms the DRC is putting in place as it faces Ebola, measles and Covid-19

The DRC has systematically gone about strengthening health infrastructure, engaging the community and doing better research
Advertising

Subscribers only

FNB dragged into bribery claims

Allegations of bribery against the bank’s chief executive, Jacques Celliers, thrown up in a separate court case

Dozens of birds and bats perish in extreme heat in...

In a single day, temperatures in northern KwaZulu-Natal climbed to a lethal 45°C, causing a mass die-off of birds and bats

More top stories

Blast rocks Durban’s Engen refinery

Residents are being evacuated as firefighters battle to control the blaze

ConCourt asked to rule that Zuma must testify for 10...

It is Zondo's legal end game and will leave the former president, his supporters and those implicated in state capture to increasingly play fast and loose at imputing political motive to the commission

Carlos on Oozymandias’ goodbye grift

"Look on my works ye Mighty, and gimme 50 bucks!"

This is how the SIU catches crooks

Athandiwe Saba talked to the Special Investigating Unit’s Andy Mothibi about its caseload, including 1 000 Covid contracts
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…