Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the edge of spiralling out of control

epa07645877 Kenyan health workers from Port Health Service (L), wait for travellers coming in from Uganda to screen them for temperatures together with other travellers coming from countries bordering Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), that they refer to as Ebola high risk countries, at a screening point that was set up in 2014 to heighten the screening of travellers for the Ebola virus as a preventive measures to avoid the virus from reaching the East African nation, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, Kenya, 13 June 2019. Uganda's Health Ministry said on 13 June 2019 that a fifty-year-old grandmother of the boy who died on 11 June has also died, making it the second death from the current outbreak in the country. Another grandson of the woman is also confirmed to be infected with the virus, making the confirmed cases to three. Experts fear that there might be more undetected cases as people continue to cross the border into Uganda from DR Congo where the disease killed some 1,400 people. EPA-EFE/DANIEL IRUNGU

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Rory Stewart, the UK’s international development secretary, has said that the year-long Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is on the edge of spiralling out of control and the World Health Organization should declare it an international emergency,.

Stewart made the comments in an interview with the Guardian while on a two-day visit to the DRC visiting emergency health centres and victims of the disease to assess the issues hampering efforts to bring the epidemic under permanent control.

So far in the outbreak 2,400 people have contracted the disease and 1,606 have died, according to the WHO.

Militia groups have attacked health workers, and some community leaders say there is resentment over the mass arrival of UN agencies to combat Ebola in a large remote region where for decades more curable diseases such as cholera or measles have been left untreated.

In a Guardian interview, Stewart said: “We are on the edge with this crisis. We keep pulling it back from the brink, but it is very dangerous. The very worst-case scenario is if it broke out of the numbers that you could vaccinate. Due to the insecurity, areas that appeared cleared of the disease, such as Beni, have seen the population struck again.”

The WHO has refused three times to declare the outbreak a global health emergency, largely for technical reasons.

 

Via The Guardian

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