Ebola outbreak unlikely to be contained, DR Congo

At least 1 117 people have died in world's second largest Ebola outbreak currently affecting DR Congo. WHO said the outbreak is 'unlikely' to be contained amid continued insecurity.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the accumulated cases rose to 1 680, including 1 592 confirmed and 88 probable.

In total, there were 1 117 deaths (1 029 confirmed and 878 probable), as of May 13. 450 people have been cured.

268 suspected cases are currently under investigation.

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak response this past week continues to be hampered by insecurity, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported May 9.

On May 3 in Katwa, a Safe and Dignified Burial (SDB) team was violently attacked following the completion of a burial for a deceased EVD case. In Butembo and surrounding health zones, response activities were repeatedly halted due to a number of serious security incidents taking place from May 4 - 6.

On May 8, a group of over 50 armed militia infiltrated the city center. Security forces repelled the attack following intense gunfire in close proximity to staff accommodations. Although activities resumed on May 9, after almost five consecutive days of suspension, threats of further attacks against EVD response teams and facilities remain prevalent.

These security incidents, and especially the resultant lack of access to EVD affected communities, remain a major impediment to the response, with teams unable to perform robust surveillance nor deliver much-needed treatment and immunizations. The ongoing violent attacks sow fear, perpetuate mistrust, and further compound the multitude of challenges already faced by frontline healthcare workers, WHO said.

Without the commitment from all groups to cease these attacks, it is unlikely that this EVD outbreak can remain successfully contained in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, the organization said in a statement.

EVD transmission remains most intense in Katwa, Butembo, Mandima, Mabalako, Musienene, Beni and Kalunguta hotspot health zones, which collectively account for the vast majority (93%) of the 303 cases reported between April 17 and May 7.

Featured image credit: Al Jazeera (stillshot)

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