United Nations agency: Ebola reaches area of ‘high insecurity’ in Congo

Nora Nguyen
August 27, 2018

It is estimated that more than a million people are displaced in North Kivu. It's the second epidemic of the illness in the central African nation this year, after a flare-up in the northwest left 33 people dead.

A doctor in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is hospitalised with Ebola, and 97 of his contacts have been identified in an area nearly entirely surrounded by armed militia, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.

Salama said the case involving the physician was confirmed earlier this week in Oicha, a town 30 kilometers east of Beni, adding that there are as many as two more suspected cases in that town.

Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya says the latest report indicates that as of August 21, 2018, there are a cumulative 103 cases since the start of the outbreak out of which 75 are confirmed with 32 dead.

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The disease was first detected in North Kivu province, before spreading to neighboring Ituri.

"More than 80% of cases are in and around Mangina".

More than 100 militias operate in the region, which is now experiencing a spike in insecurity.

"Residents told our staff about brutal attacks against the civilians carried out with machetes".

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Salama also provided more details on the use of therapeutics in this outbreak. "The armed groups must be made aware of information about Ebola because the situation is critical and deaths are increasing each day". This is the highest concentration of internally displaced people (IDPs) in the DRC. "We are obviously afraid the epidemic might spread across the border to another country".

The aid from the ROK government will be used for the WHO's activities to respond to the Ebola virus in accordance with the "National Plan for the Response to the Ebola Virus Disease Epidemic in North Kivu Province", devised by the DRC and global organizations, including the WHO. The WHO has so far documented 97 contacts after the Oicha case was confirmed and vaccination has ensued. "The limitations on intervention means all levels of the response are more hard".

The ministry said that since August 8, more than 1,600 people have been vaccinated in Mabalako and Beni in North Kivu province and in Mandima in Ituri province.

"Changing a whole belief system in a matter of weeks is quite challenging and takes a lot of engagement and dialogue, especially with the influential people in the community", she said.

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