Congo should exceed 1,000 Ebola deaths on Friday

Grant Boone
May 6, 2019

Despite the mounting death toll, the World Health Organization has said the outbreak remains geographically isolated and hasn't spread to neighbouring countries.

The outbreak declared nearly nine months ago already had caused the most deaths behind the 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa's Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia that killed more than 11,000 people.

As a result, "we are anticipating a scenario of continued intense transmission", Ryan told a news briefing.

The DRC health ministry has reported that the death toll has risen to 1,008 and more than 1,450 cases have been registered since August 2018.

Volunteers and other burial teams have responded to more than 5,000 safe and dignified burial requests across North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

Efforts to beat back the virus have been hampered by ongoing unrest in the eastern DRC, however, and widespread distrust among elements of the local population towards both the central government, which postponed presidential and legislative elections in parts of the region blaming the Ebola outbreak, as well as the medical strategies deployed by emergency responders.

"Communities. need to be assured that all parties are supporting the public health response and that Ebola should not become further politicised in the process", he added.

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The World Health Organization said it expected the nine-month outbreak to continue spreading though the east of Democratic Republic of Congo, and announced plans to expand vaccinations in the coming weeks once a new treatment by Johnson & Johnson is approved.

Ryan said the United Nations health agency now has enough vaccine stocks to meet its needs but doses may run short.

"This is a deeply worrying situation".

The virus is most often spread by close contact with bodily fluids of people exhibiting symptoms and with objects such as sheets that have been contaminated.

A ministry statement sent to dpa said 1,008 people have now died from the virus, while 1,529 cases have been recorded.

The groups said violence in the region, with rival rebel groups competing for resources and power, made it very hard for humanitarian aid to reach those who need it, with some 60,000 people displaced in April alone.

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