DRC terms current Ebola outbreak as worst in history

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Medical workers lead a man with suspected Ebola into the unconfirmed Ebola patients ward run by The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) on August 12, 2018, in Beni. (Photo by John WESSELS / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHN WESSELS/AFP/Getty Images)

The Democratic Republic of Congo has termed the current Ebola outbreak as the most severe in the country’s history.

FILE PHOTO: A health worker administers Ebola vaccine to a woman, August 18, 2018. REUTERS/Olivia Acland/File Photo

Ministry of health spokeswoman Jessica Ilunga told Reuters there are 319 confirmed and probable cases.

“The current epidemic is the worst in the history of DRC,” Ilunga told Reuters.

Congo has suffered 10 Ebola outbreaks since the virus was discovered near the eponymous Ebola River in 1976.

With over 300 cases the epidemic also ranks as third worst in the history of the continent, following the 2013-2016 outbreak in West Africa where over 28,000 cases were confirmed and an outbreak in Uganda in 2000 involving 425 cases.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday that security represented the primary challenge in the current epidemic, followed by community mistrust.

“When there is an attack, the operation actually freezes. So we hold the operation. And when the operation stops, the virus gets advantage and it affects us in two ways,” he told reporters in Kinshasa.

The confirmation of new cases has accelerated in the last month and an emergency committee of World Health Organization experts said in October that the outbreak was likely to worsen significantly unless the response was stepped up.

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