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World Health Organization warns of Ebola 'perfect storm' in Congo

27 September 2018

The North Kivu province is the epicenter of the outbreak, though some cases have been reported in neighboring Ituri province as well, according to WHO.

The attack spurred the government to declare a "ville mort", or period of mourning, "out of respect for the victims" that will last until this Friday, effectively forcing aid groups to suspend their efforts to monitor and combat the outbreak.

In the almost two months since the outbreak was declared, there have been 150 confirmed and probable cases of the disease, and 100 people have died, as of 23 September.

This progress risks being undone by the uptick in violence in the Kivus region, which is home to more than 100 armed groups, he said, before noting that neighbouring countries now also face an increased risk of the disease spreading.

A deadly attack by rebels in Beni, a flashpoint city in North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo has forced aid workers to halt Ebola prevention activities in the area.

"We call on the global community to continue to fund the response", he said, "both in North Kivu, but also, and this is increasingly important, in the neighbouring provinces of the Kivus and Ituri, and in surrounding countries".

Those on lockdown include the teams that distribute vaccinations, those who track family, friends and others who came in contact with those infected, and those who educate the public by working directly with the community.

"Many inhabitants of the town of Beni took to the streets this Sunday to protest against the growing insecurity in the zone". The Ministry added that field activities will resume "as soon as calm returns to the city".

"All the pillars of the response remain fully operational", he wrote. "The only way to end the Ebola Virus Disease epidemic remains the mobilization and commitment of the community alongside the health authorities".

Health workers vaccinating residents in Mbandaka, the Democratic Republic of Congo. It came just months after the previous outbreak in May, which claimed the lives of 33 people. World Health Organization said 100 people had died.

The violence "will have a considerable impact on the whole response to Ebola", the public health official said.

World Health Organization warns of Ebola 'perfect storm' in Congo