From attacks to deaths, key facts about Congo's escalating Ebola epidemic

Thomson Reuters Foundation, Tuesday 26 Mar 2019

Congo's Ebola epidemic has now exceeded 1,000 cases, the country's health ministry said on Monday, with a death toll of about 629 in the world's second worst ever outbreak.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC), an aid group, cautioned that case numbers were on the rise and the outbreak could last another six to 12 months in a region beset by violence and poverty.

Here are some key facts and figures about Ebola:

* The world's worst epidemic of Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever, began in Guinea in December 2013 and swept through Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing more than 11,300 people.

* Ebola causes fever, flu-like pains, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhoea and spreads among humans through contact with bodily fluids of an infected person.

* The world's second-biggest outbreak of Ebola began in August 2018 in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

* By March 2019 Congo's Ebola outbreak surpassed 1,000 cases with a death toll of 629 and spread to the city of Bunia, the second-largest city in eastern Congo.

* The IRC said in the past week there had been 58 new reported cases – the highest number in a week in 2019.

* Its staff were working in about 59 health clinics to train health workers to recognise symptoms and safely triage and transfer suspected Ebola patients to treatment centres.

* Five Ebola centres have been attacked since February 2019.

* The head of medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) earlier in March warned that the battle against Ebola was being lost because ordinary people did not trust health workers and the response was overly militarised.

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