Around 200 people have died of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since August, the country’s Health Minister Oly Ilunga said on Sunday. It is the worst-ever outbreak of the disease, he added.
“At this point, 319 cases and 198 deaths have been registered,” BBC quoted Ilunga as saying. “In view of these figures, my thoughts and my prayers go to the hundreds of families grieving, to the hundreds of orphans and the families which have been wiped out.” However, AFP reported that 201 people have died so far, and 291 cases have been confirmed.
About half the victims are from Beni, a city in the North Kivu region. A vaccination programme the government began after the outbreak has so far inoculated 25,000 people. The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping last week asked armed groups in the country not to hinder efforts to combat Ebola.
This is the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 10th outbreak since the disease was identified in 1976. More than 11,300 people died in an Ebola outbreak in West Africa between 2013 and 2016, according to the World Health Organisation. Ebola is a highly infectious and often fatal disease. The illness causes internal bleeding and is easily transmitted through contact with small amounts of bodily fluid. Its flu-like symptoms make it hard to diagnose. The previous outbreak in May had claimed 23 lives.