As the response to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) enters into its sixth month, the World Health Organization (WHO) says there are “hopeful signs” that control efforts are working.
However, it warned that conflict in the country is continuing to impact on progress. The organisation cautioned that the gains made to date could be lost in the event of a period of prolonged insecurity which could result in increased transmission.
Last week (December 27), teams in Beni were forced to suspend fieldwork after protests at government buildings spilled over to an Ebola mobile health centre. Staff at the centre withdrew temporarily and most suspected cases were transferred to a nearby treatment centre. In Butembo, teams were unable to trace contacts or to conduct vaccinations. “In general, the communities in affected areas have been supportive of the response. We ask for everyone to protect health facilities and provide access for responders to the affected populations so that we can stop this outbreak,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
As of 26 December 2018, a total of 591 cases of Ebola virus disease had been reported, including 54 among healthcare workers. A total of 357 people have died.