The outbreak in the two eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has become the worst epidemic of the Ebola deadly virus in the history of the country.
Congo The ministry of health said on Saturday that 326 people were infected with the Ebola virus in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri.
As a result, the outbreak is worse than the 1976 Yambuk epidemic, which infected 318 people and killed 280 people. This outbreak was the first time that scientists found out what is now known as the deadliest source of Ebola virus. The outbreak in Kikwit in 1995 infected 315 people, of whom 250 died.
The current outbreak is now the third worst epidemic of ebola in modern history. The outbreak in West Africa from 2013 to 2015 has infected more than 28,600 people, mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The outbreak in Uganda in 2000 in the northern strain of the Ebola virus has infected more than 400 people.
After the initial appearance under control, there were a number of cases in the North Kiv District in September and October, which are being taken care of by public health officials around the world. Last week, Captain Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Capitol Hill that he could spread the outbreak so broadly that the Ebola virus could become endemic to Central Africa.
The Congolese Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization and non-governmental groups such as the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders sent hundreds of people to the epicenter of the outbreak. More than 28,000 people have been vaccinated, including those who have come into contact with Ebola victims and the first doctors who are most susceptible to the virus.
But the response was partly out of the volatile security situation, in which dozens of armed groups opposed to the government were threatened or attacked by healthcare workers.
Bombing at the end of August, accused of Islamic militants across the border in Uganda, has been closed in Beni for several days, which has allowed the spread of the virus. Last month, two occupied Congolese army health workers were killed in ambush.
"No other epidemic in the world was as complex as the one we are currently experiencing. Since the arrival in the region, the response groups have been confronted with threats, physical attacks, the resumption of their equipment and abduction," said Olin Ilunga Kalenga, health, said in a statement.
The current outbreak began at the end of July, probably when the virus spread to the funeral through the family of a woman who was hurt. Later, the virus spread to Bena, a regional shopping center of about a quarter of a million inhabitants. From there, it spread to Butembo, an international trade center on the border with Uganda.
Approximately half of the 159 cases identified so far have occurred in Bena. Fourteen were found in Butembo. The World Health Organization sent aid to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan, in anticipation of the possibility that the virus could cross international borders.
"We have to remain a difficult path to control the intensive transmission in the city of Beni and the rising hot spots in the village around Beni and Butembo," the World Health Organization said in a weekly assessment of the situation on the ground.
North Kivu is home to about eight million people, of whom approximately one million people are internally displaced after years of ethnic conflict. It is the largest province in the Congo outside the capital of Kinshasa.
Oliver Johnson, a visiting lecturer in world health at King's College, London, co-author of "How to Do It," a book on the outbreak of Ebola in 2014-2015 in West Africa, said the conflict in the eastern Congo aroused distrust of the government in Kinshasa and all international groups that could come to the scene to try to help.
"There are many suspicions that the messages about Ebola and the outbreak are wrong and are part of a conspiracy, making it very difficult to persuade people to seek treatment or change their behavior to protect themselves," said Johnson in an email on Sunday. "The real challenge for respondents who receive physical access to affected communities is to save the patient with a patient in order to take them to the treatment center to work with communities to prevent further spread or distribution of the vaccine."
Violence in Northern Kivu was constrained by the American response to the outbreak. After the attack on the Congolese army base in August, the State Department ordered a response from the US Agency for International Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from the region, first to the Goma regional capital and then to Kinshasa, 1,700 km from the epicenter of the outbreak.
CDC selective back to the capital "puts the response in jeopardy not to occur at a critical time," said Johnson.
The World Health Organization said that in the region there were 29 new cases in the last week. Among the new victims were three health workers.
WHO said that the risk of spreading the virus through domestic or international borders is "still very high." The Ministry of Health has sent experts to prepare for ten provinces around North Kivu.
Health officials take care of more than 5,400 people who have come into contact with ebola victims, a practice known as a contact trail, with the goal of gaining new cases of treatment at the first sign of infection.
"The epidemic remains dangerous and unpredictable, and we must not let our fear," said Minister of Health Ilunga Kalenga. "We must continue with a very dynamic response that requires constant adjustments and actual ownership at the community level."