The Ebola death toll has risen to 47 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where health officials are working to contain the outbreak in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces – places where armed conflict creates a barrier to the health care response.
Most of the fatalities have been in Mabalako, where 37 people have died. Another three fatal cases are reported in Mandima, and three in Beni, with the remaining deaths in three other communities.
The rapid rise in cases is already straining the response center in Mangina, where DR Congo health ministry officials say they’re considering a second treatment center because the existing one has only a 50-bed capacity. The case total has reached 87, with 60 confirmed and 27 probable, and another 21 cases are under investigation.
Minister of Health Dr. Oly Ilunga visited the site on Friday, which has seen additional workers added as the number of Ebola victims’ potential contacts has reached beyond 2,100. “They have a huge amount of work to do to follow up on these contacts, to continue the investigations and the active search for cases, as well as to prepare the ground for the vaccination teams,” he said.
Yet that work is hampered by ongoing conflict in the provinces – and that has health officials concerned.
“I was worried before I went to eastern DRC, and even more worried when I left,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Thursday. “This is a very dangerous Ebola outbreak because of the lack of access we have to the areas we need to get to, due to the active conflict there. At all levels, we are following the situation 24/7.”
Image: DRC Ministry of Health