Democratic Republic of Congo Strives to Control Ebola Spread

(TELESUR) – The death toll due to Ebola virus disease has passed 1,500 people 10 months after the pandemic began in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Congolese Health authorities said Sunday. The eastern part of the country is the most affected.

“Since the outbreak of the disease, the number of suspected cases has been 2,239 with 2,145 confirmed cases and 94 that are probable. In total, there have been 1,506 deaths and 621 people were cured,” said the Ministry of Health’s in his daily bulletin.

The epidemic, which broke out in August 2018, is the tenth in the D.R.C. since 1976 and the second most serious in the history of the disease after the one that killed some 11,000 people in West Africa (Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone) in 2014.

Nearly 141,000 people have been vaccinated in the eastern DRC provinces of Ituri and North Kivu (northeastern,) but persisting violence and militia activity in these zones, as well as animosity and rejection towards medical teams among locals, have prevented an effective response to the infection.

The resistence to the idea that Ebola exists is widespread among communities. In the city of Butembo in North Kivu, where 90 percent of the population relates to the Nande ethnic group, a tribe that has long felt persecuted in the long conflictual history of the region. As a result, the vast majority believe Ebola (if it exists) has been introduced from the outside to target them.

The city has subsequebtly seen various assaults on Ebola treatment centres and vaccination teams. A doctor from the World Health Organization (WHO) has also been murdered, and Monday, a crowd of people impeded the burial of two Ebola victims and burnt the vehicle of a health team, local police chief told AFP.

He added that a member of the medical team had been harmed and taken to hospital.

The United Nations nominated in May an emergency coordinator to deal with the crisis. However, the (WHO) said this month the pandemic currently did not represent a global threat.