DR Congo: Terrifying: Ebola death toll hits 1,000 as lethal virus spreads

/ AFP PHOTO / John WESSELS

(ALJAZEERA) – The death toll in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s latest Ebola outbreak has risen to more than 1,000, according to the country’s health ministry, with a volatile security situation and deep community distrust complicating efforts to beat back the nine-month-old epidemic.

The Ministry of Public Health said in its latest update on Friday that 14 new deaths from the virus were recorded, taking the toll to 1,008 deaths from more than 1,450 confirmed cases registered since the epidemic erupted in August.

The ministry’s update came after the World Health Organization (WHO) warned earlier on Friday that health officials were “anticipating a scenario of continued intense transmission” after 126 confirmed cases were reported over a seven-day stretch ending on Sunday, a record for the current outbreak.

Health ministry spokeswoman Jessica Ilunga said the surge in cases was the result of attacks on health workers and treatment centres disrupting “response activities” in recent weeks.

“Security has been a big issue, and every time we have an incident, essential response activities such as contact tracing, vaccination and safe burials are suspended for an indefinite period of time, giving time and space for the virus to spread,” Ilunga told Al Jazeera.