Published: Mon, May 06, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

More than 1,000 dead in D.R. Congo Ebola epidemic

More than 1,000 dead in D.R. Congo Ebola epidemic

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.

The WHO said it was anxious there could be continued "intense transmission" of the virus.

The WHO plans to expand vaccination with an unlicensed new Ebola vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson, in addition to a Merck vaccine already being used, said Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme.

At least 1,529 confirmed and probable Ebola cases have been reported in this outbreak declared in August, with 1,008 deaths. Nervous health experts watch as the virus spreads in a dense, highly mobile population near the border with Uganda and Rwanda. More than 11,000 people died then out of 28,000 who were infected.

According to a recent study by the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, some 32 percent of respondents in Ebola-hit regions of the eastern DRC said they did not believe the virus existed and was instead invented for financial gains. Ebola is an acute viral disease that causes fever and often leads to serious internal bleeding and death, DPA notes.

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It is already using another experimental vaccine made by Merck.

Congo's health ministry says more than 110,000 people have been vaccinated, but some including health workers have refused it.

Ebola treatment centres have come under repeated attack, and a Cameroonian epidemiologist working with World Health Organization was killed last month during an assault on a hospital in Butembo city at the outbreak's epicenter.

A ministry statement sent to dpa said 1,008 people have now died from the virus, while 1,529 cases have been recorded. An epidemiologist with WHO was shot dead last month and some doctors threatened to go on strike indefinitely if health workers are attacked again.

Officials reported 19 new cases this week and 14 new deaths in the world's second-largest Ebola outbreak. As complications keep appearing, the time frame is pushed back.

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