The Regional-Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Africa stated the Ebola outbreak in the western part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a major concern as cases reach 100, a nearly two-fold increase in a little over five weeks. Ebola, a tropical fever that first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and the DRC, is transmitted to humans from wild animals that killed more than 11k people.
The UN health agency in the statement said that the outbreak has since spread to 11 of the 17 health zones in the DRC’s Equateur province. Of 100 cases reported so far, 96 are confirmed and four are probable and 43 people have lost their lives, it added.
Matshidiso Moeti, the regional director of WHO remarked, “With 100 Ebola cases in less than 100 days, the outbreak in Equateur province is evolving in a concerning way”. The virus is spreading across a wide and rugged terrain which requires costly interventions and with COVID-19 draining resources and attention, it is hard to scale-up operations, she added.
“Without extra support, the teams on the ground will find it harder to get ahead of the virus,” Dr. Moeti said. She added “COVID-19 is not the only emergency needing robust support. As we know from our recent history, we ignore Ebola at our peril”. The statement stated, along with its partners WHO have helped to screen more than 640,000 people across 40 points of control in the Central African country that was set up to help keep travelers safe when crossing into an affected area.
The statement added, WHO has also worked to raise awareness about Ebola among nearly 774,000 people in the affected communities on how to recognize symptoms and seek treatment. The WHO and the DRC government declared the country free from the 10th outbreak in May. WHO and partners will also support the Ministry of Health in implementing preparedness and readiness activities in currently unaffected health zones of Equateur in a bid to curtail the further spread of the outbreak.