Ebola Deaths Top 1,000 in Congo Amid Clinic Attacks

85 health workers wounded or killed by natives 

| New York Times, Congo — More than 1,000 people have died from Ebola in eastern Congo since August, the country’s health minister said on Friday, the second-worst outbreak of the disease in history behind the West African one in 2014-16 that killed more than 11,300.

The toll came as hostility toward health workers continued to hamper efforts to contain the virus.

Health Minister Oly Ilunga said that four deaths in the outbreak’s center, Katwa, had helped push the death toll to 1,008. Two more deaths were reported in the city of Butembo. The outbreak was declared almost nine months ago.

A volatile security situation and deep community mistrust have hampered efforts to control the spread of the disease in eastern Congo.

Ebola treatment centers have been repeatedly attacked, leaving government health officials to run clinics in the hot spots like Butembo and Katwa. WHO Soft-Pedals Deadly Ebola Risk: Experts

International aid organizations stopped working in the two communities because of the violence. A Cameroonian epidemiologist working with the World Health Organization was killed last month during an assault on a hospital in Butembo.

Insecurity has become a “major impediment” to controlling the Ebola outbreak, Michael Ryan, the World Health Organization’s health emergencies chief, told reporters in Geneva on Friday. Doctors Flee For Their Lives After New Ebola Clinic Attack

He said 119 attacks had been recorded since January, 42 of them directed at health facilities, while 85 health workers had been wounded or killed. Dozens of rebel groups operate in the region, and political rivalries were one factor driving the community rejection of health personnel.

“Every time we have managed to regain control over the virus and contain its spread, we have suffered major, major security events,” Mr. Ryan said. His organization was “anticipating a scenario of continued intense transmission” of the disease, he added.

Ebola can spread quickly and kills in up to 90 percent of cases. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and at times internal and external bleeding … Read more. 


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