Published: Thu, August 30, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Conflict zones complicate Ebola containment in Congo, says World Health Organization director

Conflict zones complicate Ebola containment in Congo, says World Health Organization director

No new cases have been reported since Sunday when the death toll was given as 67.

The outbreak spread from North Kivu province into neighboring Ituri province in Congo's turbulent northeast when a man who had been treated for heart problems in Mangina, where the outbreak was declared August 1, returned home, the health ministry said.

Besides the vaccine tested during the pandemic of 2014-2015, the authorities have already approved the use of four additional experimental therapeutic molecules, namely ZMapp, Remdesivir, Favipiravir and Regn3450-3471-3479 in the response against Ebola. From the previous epicenter to the present one (Mangina), 2,500 kilometers away, and it was proved in a laboratory the strains are different.

Seven of the almost 75 health workers in Mangina have been infected, Tedros said.

The WHO said that the confirmed case was detected early last month at a health center in Pointe Noire, where the patient with fever and jaundice was admitted for treatment. More than 200 health workers have been vaccinated, along with 20 residents in the Beni region, he said.

The work to contain Ebola is challenged by the presence of several armed groups in the densely populated region close to the Ugandan border.

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"The virus is unsafe to us all", Tedros said.

"There is a decline in new cases but still, considering the accessibility and red zones, we can not say that the outbreak is stabilising".

Lindmeier said the next week is critical in efforts to prevent Ebola from spreading to areas that can not be reached. Aid workers, priests and government officials are held hostage in the area, he said.

Oicha is nearly entirely surrounded by ADF Ugandan Islamist militia, there are "extremely serious security concerns", he said.

Dr Inger Damon was talking after a healthcare centre in the east of the country, scene of the latest outbreak, was set on fire by angry youths burned down a health centre in the village of Manbangu where vaccinations were underway, after learning of a death from Ebola.

The WHO chief said the risk of global spread is low.

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