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Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Ebola cases in DR Congo break 2,000 mark: Health ministry

AFP , Tuesday 4 Jun 2019
Health workers in DR Congo
Health workers prepare to bury an Ebola victim in Butembo. More than 2,000 cases have been recorded since the disease broke out in eastern DR Congo 10 months ago (Photo: AFP)
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DR Congo's health ministry said late Monday that it had recorded more than 2,000 cases of Ebola, two-thirds of which had been fatal, since the disease broke out in the country's east 10 months ago.

"Since the start of the epidemic, the total number of cases stands at 2,008, of which 1,914 have been confirmed [by lab test] while 94 are probable," it said in an update.

"In all, there have been 1,346 deaths (1,252 confirmed and 94 probable) and 539 people have recovered."

The ministry said it was important to retain the overall perspective, despite the breaching of the symbolic threshold of 2,000 cases.

"In recent weeks, the trend has been positive, although vigilance is still necessary," it said.

There have been fewer attacks on Ebola teams by armed groups, which means health workers have "recovered some of the lost time to contain the spread of the epidemic," it said.

The epidemic was first declared in North Kivu province on August 1 and then spread to neighbouring Ituri, although there have not been any cases in neighbouring countries.

Efforts to tackle the crisis have been hampered both by militia attacks on treatment centres, in which some staff have been killed, and by the hostility of some local people to the medical teams.

The outbreak is the 10th in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the disease was identified in 1976.

It is the worst on record after an epidemic that struck three African countries between 2014-2016, leaving more than 11,300 people dead.

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