Sep 6, 2018 - Health

Congo's Ebola outbreak spreads to new city

Data: Ministry of Health DRC; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Health officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced yesterday the deadly Ebola virus has spread to a new city, Butembo, a city with almost one million people that acts as a trading hub with Uganda and other countries.

Why it matters: In addition to treating patients, public health officials also have to manage fear and distrust in some communities. DRC's Ministry of Health said this particular case was caused by a man who had been in contact with an infected person in Beni but "had refused to cooperate with the health authorities and who had fled in Butembo after falling ill."

WHO's Peter Salama tweeted Wednesday "Good news is case detected quickly, response already in place & expanding. Bad new is increases risk of further spread, and having Ebola in an urban centre makes ending the outbreak much harder."

The context: This is not the first time the DRC's ministry has reported challenges with some communities. On Wednesday, the ministry partly blamed community resistance for the 70% concentration of confirmed cases in the Ndindi neighborhood of Beni, tweeting:

"Some families have long hidden the sick, refused to allow care providers to bring the sick Ebola Treatment Center (ETC), and refused to be vaccinated. Several violent incidents against medical personnel and care facilities were also reported."

Go deeper: Read the Huffington Post's No One Should Be Sleeping Well Tonight

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