More than 50 health workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been affected by the current ebola outbreak, according to new data.
In its latest disease outbreak update, the World Health Organization (WHO) said as of 18 December 2018, 549 ebola virus disease cases (501 confirmed and 48 probable), including 326 deaths had been reported. An average of 35 new cases have been reported each week since mid-October. A total of 55 health workers have been infected to date, of whom 19 have died.
The WHO said pockets of community reluctance and the conflict setting continue to obstruct activities in some affected areas. It also warned that additional challenges to the response may also be anticipated during the ongoing election period, “which may lead to heightened political tension, a deterioration of the overall security situation and violent civil unrest; presenting an indirect threat to the Ebola response operations".
The WHO said preparedness and operational readiness activities across other provinces in DRC and neighbouring countries must continue to be scaled-up to mitigate the high risk of geographic spread of ebola, and to rapidly detect and respond to any potential cases.