By Fritz Schaap and Sergio Ramazzotti (Photo)
A new Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is spreading very quickly, with 27 new cases diagnosed in a single day – an indication that the current outbreak is spreading very quickly and has already become the second deadliest in history. Meanwhile, heath care givers, including Doctors and Nurses are being violently attacked by locals whose fear is greater than their comprehension of the disease.
By James DiGeorgia
The new outbreak of Ebola in the Congo has already become the second deadliest outbreak in history. The danger has been exacerbated by citizenry whose mistrust has been fanned violent attacks on health care workers.
Doctors, nurses and health workers marched in Butembo, Congo in April after attackers killed a World Health Organization (WHO) epidemiologist in protest to motivate government officials to provide security.
This past Sunday the WHO reported 27 new confirmed cases -- the most in a single day since the outbreak started in August 2018. If that wasn’t bad enough, last week 126 new cases had been reported -- the highest weekly total since Ebola took hold in the country. The WHO said in its latest situation report.….
"The increase in the number of new [Ebola] cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) remains deeply concerning,"
According to the latest numbers released from DRC health ministry, there are now over 1,414 people infected, 66 people with probable infections and 970 people have already died since the outbreak began. Amazingly, 412 people have been cured using an anti-viral treatment that was refined and proven effective during the murderous 2014 outbreak that caused global alarm and proved to be the world's worst outbreak ever recorded and is believed to have begun in West Africa.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION CHART
Doctors Without Borders - attacked and forced to withdraw in late February!
The World Health Organization (WHO) is warning sporadic violence by armed militias, limited health care resources and difficult-to-access locations is making this Ebola outbreak… " one of the most challenging circumstances ever confronted..."
Doctors Without Borders known in the Congo as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was force to suspended its medical services at two sites at the epicenter of the Ebola epidemic in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo after two separate attacks on its Ebola treatment centers more than a month ago. This has prompted the charitable medical group to suspend work in some Ebola-hit areas.
In March a WHO epidemiologist, Dr. Richard Mouzoko was killed by armed men while he and colleagues were working in Butembo, in North Kivu, a province not only grappling with the Ebola outbreak but also long-term militia violence from dozens of armed groups. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus released a statement this week following his fact finding visit to Butembo…
"Dr. Mouzoko's death moved me profoundly. I am also profoundly worried about the situation. Cases are increasing because of violent acts that set us back each time."
Local population doesn’t even think Ebola is a real disease.
The challenges confronting healthcare workers trying to stem the Ebola outbreak includes battling the perception of locals that the Ebola outbreak isn’t real.
The Lancet medical journal published a study in March that found 25% of the 961 people surveyed in one of the Ebola-affected provinces believed the infection isn’t real but something made up by the government or one of the many militias. This is compounding to limit the response to the outbreak.
The 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak killed more than 11,000 people, but during the crisis new vaccines and experimental treatments were developed treat and prevent the spread of the disease.
Unlike the 2014 outbreak that straddled a number of West African countries, the WHO said last month that the current outbreak did not constitute a "public health emergency of international concern."
The Ebola virus fortunately it hasn’t spread to neighboring countries so far, but the threat exists especially at the startling rate of growth of infections.
Gwenola Seroux, emergency manager at MSF insisted during an interview on Tuesday that …
"Whatever the official status of this outbreak is, it is clear that the outbreak is not under control and therefore we need a better collective effort.