DRC facing worst Ebola outbreak in country’s history, Health Minister cries

More than 190 have died during this outbreak

But there is worry that the current outbreak was in an active conflict zone in North Kivu, making it hard for health workers to track down and isolate cases, the official said. Almost 100 people have survived Ebola.

"Since their arrival in the region, the response teams have faced threats, physical assaults, repeated destruction of their equipment and kidnapping", said Kalenga.

"Two of our colleagues in the Rapid Response Medical Unit have even lost their lives in an attack", he said.

In the latest update, the World Health Organisation's director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the lack of security was posing the greatest challenge in countering the current epidemic.

Armed groups are fighting for control of the resource-rich area.

The hemorrhagic fever is believed to have killed 198 people in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, where attacks by armed groups and community resistance to health officials have complicated the response.

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Today, one of the new cases was recorded in Kyondo Health Zone, located next to Butembo.Though no cases have crossed DRC's borders, the WHO said the risk for worldwide spread remains high."The risk of the outbreak spreading to other provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as to neighbouring countries, remains very high".

The outbreak is the tenth in DR Congo since Ebola was first detected there in 1976.

Earlier this month, the health ministry said it will install health checkpoints at the entrances to all polling stations in Congo's Ebola-affected region during the December presidential election when millions of Congolese are expected to come out to vote.

Health officials, however, have managed to vaccinate more than 27,000 high-risk contacts, of which at least half could have developed Ebola, the health minister said.

Ebola is spread via small amounts of bodily fluid and infection often proves fatal.


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