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Political and security issues could still disrupt DRC's fight against Ebola

As political tensions over the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) stalled presidential election results continue, and rebel groups in the east of the country show no signs of giving up their fight, dedicated health workers are once again accessing Ebola-affected areas in North Kivu Province. However, reports The Citizen, they warned their fight against the epidemic could be hampered if there were further disruptions and security issues

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported on that all Ebola-affected areas in the province were accessible to health workers.

The report says from 31 December to 2 January, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus travelled to Ebola-affected areas in the DRC, where he said that “Ebola responders are sacrificing a lot to combat one of the world’s deadliest viruses in a risky environment”.

The report says the fight against the spread of Ebola was crippled in December as civil unrest continued in Beni, the epicentre of the epidemic. But WHO said that, under government leadership and in collaboration with partner agencies, the Ebola response had resumed in force.

The main challenges to the response are the hazardous security situation and the inability to prevent and control infection in many public and private health facilities.

WHO revealed some 577 confirmed cases and 377 deaths had been recorded since the outbreak was declared in August 2018. The UN agency also said 220 people had recovered and more than 56,500 had been vaccinated.

 

Meanwhile, a US healthcare worker who was being monitored for the Ebola virus after treating patients in the DRC was released from a Nebraska hospital after doctors said they had seen no signs of the deadly disease. Reuters Health reports that the individual, whose name was not released for privacy reasons, did not develop Ebola symptoms during 21 days of monitoring at Nebraska Medical Centre in Omaha, Nebraska, the centre said.

Symptoms such as fever and abdominal pain may appear up to three weeks after contact with the virus, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

The healthcare worker arrived for monitoring in Omaha on 29 December, 2018. Officials said the individual left the city on 12 January, 2019. If symptoms had developed, the medic would have been moved to the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit, one of only a few in the US for treating highly infectious and dangerous diseases.

The Ebola outbreak in DRC is the second worst ever, according to the WHO.

[link url="https://citizen.co.za/news/news-africa/2060088/drc-health-workers-brave-political-tensions-to-continue-fight-against-ebola/"]The Citizen report[/link]
[link url="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-ebola-usa/u-s-medic-declared-ebola-free-leaves-nebraska-quarantine-idUSKCN1P700B"]Reuters Health report[/link]

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