Democratic Republic of Congo Ebola outbreak surpasses 1,000 cases

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Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo has reached 1000 cases in what is deemed to be the country's most disastrous epidemic since 2014 when the viral disease killed 11,000 people in West Africa. The number of confirmed cases stands at 1,009, of which 944 are confirmed and 65 probable, in an outbreak that started in August. This is the DRC's 10th and largest Ebola outbreak, and the second biggest in history.

"Before being a public health emergency, an Ebola epidemic is above all a human and social tragedy", the country's health minister, Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga, said Sunday.

There is a growing health concern in DR Congo as not less than one thousand cases of Ebola have been recorded since August 2018 when the disease staged a comeback in the troubled country. "Community engagement takes time". As of today 91,286 people have been vaccinated, including 22,708 in Katwa and 21,056 in Beni.

Last week, the World Health Organization had reported a rise in the weekly rate of confirmed Ebola cases after several weeks of decline. With mistrust and security issues, cases are likely to be going unreported and the true figure could be even higher.

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The head of medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) earlier in March warned that the battle against Ebola was being lost because ordinary people did not trust health workers and the response was overly militarised.

Officials at the World Health Organization called for renewed efforts to control the outbreak. "'This outbreak has gone on far too long"..."

"We are already nearly seven months into this outbreak and at this stage we should be seeing the case rate declining, not on the rise, with an optimistic outlook this outbreak is predicted to last another six months - but realistically we could be looking towards another year of fighting this disease. With an optimistic outlook this outbreak is predicted to last another six months-but realistically we could be looking towards another year of fighting this disease", Riebl said.

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