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

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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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