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The Ebola epidemic in DR Congo has announced a public health emergency

The woman measures her temperature at the Ebola screening station when she enters Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of the CongoCopyrights for photos
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Attempts to combat the disease included screening for people entering other countries from the DRC

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced the ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) posing a public health threat of an international scale.

However, he stressed that the borders should not be closed, adding that the risk of spreading outside the region was not high.

The explosion in the DRC killed over 1,600 people.

This week, the first case was detected in Goma, where more than a million people live.

WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference in Geneva that he accepted the recommendation of an expert committee, which stressed that there should be no restrictions on travel or trade, nor should passengers be checked in ports or airports outside the immediate region.

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The last major Ebola epidemic against this in West Africa killed over 11,000 people.

What is the situation in the DRC?

The blast, the second largest in history, began in August 2018 and concerns two provinces of the DRC – North Kivu and Ituri.

Over 2,500 people were infected and two-thirds of them died.

224 days took to reach the number of 1000 cases, and another 71 days – 2000.

About 12 new cases are reported every day.

Is there a vaccine?


It is 99% effective and over 161,000 people received it.

However, everyone is not vaccinated – only those who have direct contact with a patient with Ebola and people who have contact with them.

The vaccine was developed during an epidemic in West Africa and was available throughout the last outbreak.

Why the epidemic has not been controlled?

The fight against the disease is complicated by conflict in the region.

From January there were 198 attacks on health workers or Ebola treatment centers, which led to seven deaths and 58 injuries.

Another serious problem is the lack of trust in healthcare professionals, which leads to around one-third of deaths in the community and not in the specialized Ebola treatment center.

This means that these people do not seek treatment and risk the spread of the disease to their neighbors and relatives.

There were also difficulties in tracking the spread of the virus.

A significant number of cases are a surprise because people affected by the disease have not had contact with known Ebola cases.

"We're one year from the outbreak and the situation is not improving," said Trish Newport from the MSF charity organization.

"It's a complicated environment with a long history of violence and conflict, so there is a lot of distrust of foreigners from outside this area.

"We need to build bonds and relationships with the community to trust us."

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Could the disease continue to spread?

WHO states that the risk to neighboring countries is "very high".

Uganda has had several isolated cases, including two people – a five-year-old boy and his 50-year-old grandmother – who have died of this disease. Rwanda is also threatened.

This week, the priest died of Ebola in the city of Goma, where more than a million people live. The city is the main transport hub and lies on the border of DR Congo-Rwanda.

WHO stated that the cases were "game changes", but no cases of Goma disease spread have been reported.

Is the world doing enough to help?

WHO has no doubt for months that there are not enough resources to solve the problem.

It was estimated that $ 98 million was needed to deal with the epidemic from February to July. However, he faced a deficit of USD 54 million.

What is Ebola?

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  • Ebola is a virus that initially causes sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and sore throat
  • It progresses to vomiting, diarrhea and internal and external bleeding
  • People are infected when they have direct contact with damaged skin, mouth and nose, blood, vomit, faeces or body fluids of someone with Ebola
  • Patients die from dehydration and multi-organ failure

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