Nov 30, 2018 - Health

Congo now has second largest Ebola outbreak

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

The Democratic Republic of the Congo Thursday said the number of people confirmed or suspected of having Ebola has now become the second highest number of cases, reaching 426 as of Nov. 28.

The latest: Containment efforts are further hampered by a spike in cases of malaria, which can demonstrate similar symptoms to Ebola in its early stages, according to the World Health Organization. "The #Ebola outbreak in #DRC is now second largest historically. A sad toll, with too many families losing loved ones," tweeted WHO's Peter Salama.

DRC's Ministry of Health adds that they continue on-the-ground community work to remove distrust and follow the "contacts" of infected people.

"The heart of the new response strategy is community-based surveillance. That means we work with the community to send us alerts about any person who is sick or died in the community. In addition, community health workers continue their outreach work by going door-to-door and helping with contact tracing. And the surveillance teams visit all the health centers of the city every day to examine new patients and transfer them to the transit center if they show Ebola symptoms."
— Jessica Ilunga, spokesperson of the DRC Ministry of Health, tells Axios

Another issue has been that of youth gangs who've been sometimes violent to health care workers and who occasionally steal dead bodies, which remain infectious, to return to families. To combat that, the Ministry says they've started trying to recruit and train them to help their efforts to get people to get come forward with symptoms and get vaccinated and to promote safe burial practices.

Meanwhile, the clinical trial to test the experimental Ebola treatments has begun, WHO confirmed.

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