Congo’s Ebola outbreak is spreading at its fastest pace yet, the World Health Organization reported. The statistic showed that the current outbreak of haemorrhagic fever has killed 676 people and infected 406 others. Another 331 patients have recovered but the most alarming aspect is that people are becoming infected without access to response measures.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is fighting against Ebola over eight months, the current outbreak is extremely dangerous due to its rate. According to the WHO, more than 11,000 people died in West Africa’s 2013-16 Ebola outbreak. In 2018, when the Congolese health authorities have registered the first case of Ebola, the government speeds up responses. The hospitals were given an experimental vaccine and treatments, both of which have been considered effective.
Despite the joint efforts by the local doctors, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and WHO, each of the past two weeks has registered a record number of new cases, marking a sharp setback for efforts to respond to the second biggest outbreak ever. The situation is getting more complicated as militia violence and community resistance have impeded access to affected zones.
Congolese Ebola outbreak in 2013-16: lessons learned
In the past two months, five Ebola centres have been attacked, some by armed militiamen. That led French medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) to suspend its activities in two of the most affected villages.
Less than three weeks ago, the WHO said the outbreak of the haemorrhagic fever was largely contained and could be stopped by September, noting that weekly case numbers had halved from earlier in the year to about 25. According to WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier, the number of cases hit a record 57 the following week, and then reached 72 last week. The epidemical situation in the DRC is extremely dangerous.
Another challenge has been a mistrust of first responders: a quarter of people sampled in two Ebola hotspots did not believe the disease was real. In the case of Ebola, such irresponsible behaviour is lethal. However, Mr Lindmeier added that new approaches to community outreach were showing signs of progress. Some previously hostile local residents had recently agreed to grant doctors access.