An outbreak in the two eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has become the most known epidemic of the Ebola virus, which is deadly in the country's history.
The Congo Ministry of Health said on Saturday that 326 people were infected with the Ebola virus in the northern Kivu and Ituri states.
This epidemic makes it worse than the 1976 epidemic, which infected 318 people and caused the deaths of 280 people. This epidemic was the first time scientists identified what was known as the most deadly strain of the Ebola virus. In 1995 in the city of Kikwit an epidemic killed 250 people of 315 people.
The current epidemic is now the third worst Ebola outbreak in modern history. An epidemic in West Africa from 2013 to 2015 affected more than 28,600 people, mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The Sudanese strain of Ebola virus affected more than 400 people in Uganda in 2000 as an epidemic.
After being initially under control, the number of cases in Northern Kivu Province worried public health officials around the world in September and October. At a briefing on Capitol Hill last week, Robert Redfield, director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned that the outbreak could be as wide as Ebola's virus could be endemic to Central Africa.
Congolese ministry of health, World Health Organization and non-government groups such as the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders sent hundreds of people to the epicenter of the outbreak. They vaccinated more than 28,000 people, including those who had contacted the Ebola victims and the frontline healthcare workers who were most sensitive to the virus.
The response, however, was partly blocked by a volatile security situation in which dozens of armed groups opposed the government threatened or attacked health workers.
A bombing in late August accused Islamist militants in the Ugandan border, closing the response to the city of Beni for a few days to further spread the virus. Last month, two health workers employed by Congolese soldiers were killed in an ambush.
"Another pandemic in the world was not as complex as it is now. Since its arrival in the region, the teams have been subjected to threats, physical assaults, their equipment being repeatedly destroyed and kidnapped," said Oly Ilunga Kalenga, minister of health in the Congo.
The current epidemic began in July when the virus spread through a family of a sick woman to a funeral. The virus then spread to Beni, a regional trading center with a population of about a quarter million. From there, it spread to Butembo, an international trade center on the border with Uganda.
About half of the cases identified so far killed me in 159. Another 36 in Butembo has been identified. The World Health Organization sent aid to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan to predict the possibility of crossing the international borders.
Etmek There is a difficult way for me to control the heavy transport in the villages around Me, Ben and Butembo, etmek the World Health Organization said on a weekly basis.
North Kivu is home to about 8 million people displaced after nearly one million people have been subjected to ethnic conflicts over the years. The capital is the largest province of Congo except Kinshasa.
Oliver Johnson, the author of the book 39 Zero & # 39; Out, da a book on global health care in King's College London and a book on the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. he said the rising conflict increased government insecurity. In Kinshasa, and in any international group on the scene to try to help.
"There are many doubts that the messages about Ebola and the epidemic are wrong and that they are part of a conspiracy and that it makes it very difficult for people to convince themselves to be treated, or to change behavior to protect themselves," Johnson said. ”Participants are a real challenge in providing physical access to affected communities – to take a patient to an ambulance treatment center, to prevent further spread, or to communicate with communities to distribute the vaccine.“
Violence in North Kivu limited the reaction to the American explosion. After the attack on a Congolese army base in August, the State Department responded to the region from the US International Development Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, first to the regional capital Goma, or later to Kinshasa at 1,700 miles. . epicenter
Risk The response is critical at a critical time, dedi Johnson said, bringing the CDC field staff to the capital.
World Health Organization, 29 new cases occurred in the region last week, he said. There were three health workers among the new victims.
WHO said the risk of the virus spreading to local or international borders remains "too high". Ministry of Health, North Kivu around 10 provinces have prepared the preparatory expert.
In contact with the victims of Ebola in order to treat new cases at the first sign of infection, health care workers are keeping an eye on more than 5,000 people known as contact follow-up.
"The outbreak continues to be dangerous and unpredictable, and we should not allow our protection," Health Minister Ilunga Kalenga said. Said. "We must continue to maintain a very dynamic response that requires real-time reorganization and real ownership at the community level."