EBOLA OUTBREAK: Disease Spreads Beyond Infection Zone, Pandemic Warning
Almost a hundred people have died from the virus since July
Ebola has spread beyond the designated infection zone of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu, with new cases springing up in Ituri province, just 31 miles from the Ugandan border.
Almost a hundred people have died from the virus since July in North Kivu, with almost 50 more infected with the fatal disease.
New cases of Ebola on the shores of Lake Albert which sits on the border point where people can cross into Uganda has been confirmed by the Vice Governor of Ituri Province, DR Congo.
The Express reports: The current Ebola outbreak, which was declared on August 1, has killed 97 people, the Red Cross has warned.
On Thursday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the Ugandan government would implement the Ebola vaccination if the virus spread across the border from neighboring DR Congo.
In an attempt to contain the virus, aid workers have educated nearly 2.5 million Africans on how to reduce the risk of it spreading.
But officials admitted they are struggling to locate the area where the disease is being transmitted because the source of the outbreak lies near a dangerous conflict zone.
Health officials have made progress slowing the spread of the virus with experimental vaccines and treatments as ongoing violence in eastern Congo has made some areas difficult to access.
Health workers are using an experimental vaccine, manufactured by Merck.
It is a ‘ring fencing’ form of vaccination, to target the Zaire strain of the virus which caused the country’s latest outbreak.
In a statement on Thursday, the WHO said it was assisting Uganda, which has remained clear of Ebola so far this year, to set up the “ring vaccination” strategy being used in Congo.
Under the strategy, every contact of an Ebola case including health workers and family members is traced and vaccinated.
WHO’s Uganda Representative Yonas Tegegn Woldermariam said in a statement: “The opportunity that vaccinating frontline health workers and ring vaccination provides to contain the disease is one that must never be missed.
“That’s why we are making all these costly but necessary preparations.”
In September, bizarre conspiracy theories began to circulate, with some people believing that infected victims of the deadly disease are hiding in fear.
One of those theories believes the deadly disease is a plot to kill off opposition voters. Others believe it is a money-making scheme by foreign groups.
People are refusing Ebola vaccines as a result and others throw stones at health workers in the east of Congo.
Emergency coordinator for medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Berengere Guais, said: “People sometimes hide symptoms, refuse vaccination, perform unsafe burials.
"Ebola is a terrifying disease, which creates fear and mistrust."
Ebola is an infectious and frequently fatal disease marked by fever and severe internal bleeding. The disease is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids and can cause fever, vomiting, diarrohoea and death.