Congo confirms 33 cases of Ebola in the last week

139 people have now died in the outbreak

139 people have now died in the outbreak

Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has convened an Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Committee will gather this Wednesday, October 17th, in Geneva to discuss whether this recent Ebola outbreak represents a public health crisis of global concern and what are the recommendations that should be developed to address this epidemic.

This outbreak, the tenth to hit the DRC over the last four decades, was declared in North Kivu Province on 1 August, this year and, based on the worsening security situation in and around the city of Beni, WHO elevated the risk from "high" to "very high" on 28 September.

Monday's announcement came Congo's health ministry said that in the past week alone 33 people were confirmed with Ebola virus and 24 of them died.

So far, 211 confirmed and probable cases of Ebola have been reported since early July, when the latest outbreak of the disease started, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

On Friday afternoon, the Secretary-General's Special Representative in the DRC, Leila Zerrougui, had said a Beni-based United Nations colleague had tested positive for Ebola and was now receiving the necessary medical treatment.

Ministry of Health, WHO and partners have teams on the ground responding to the outbreak.

The spread of Ebola must be carefully contained
Image The spread of Ebola must be carefully contained

Deadly in about 50% of cases, it has no proven treatment and those who become sick with the illness are treated with fluids and rest - often in isolation in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.

According to the ministry, the cases were discovered between October 8 and October 14.

Quote Message: "In recent weeks armed attacks in and around Beni in North Kivu have severely affected both civilian and front-line workers, forcing the temporary suspension of the response and raising the risk that the virus will continue to spread".

Since Ebola virus was first identified in 1976, sporadic outbreaks have been reported in Africa.

The agency reported that it has continued to work with all nine neighbouring countries to increase their preparedness. The eastern region is close to the border with Uganda, and Rwanda.

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