World Health Organization says DRC Ebola outbreak second largest in history

World Health Organization says DRC Ebola outbreak second largest in history

More than 37,000 people have been vaccinated for the disease in the outbreak zone since August 8, according to the health ministry's daily bulletin on Thursday.

This put the total cases over the 2000 Uganda outbreak (425) to become the second largest Ebola outbreak since it was "discovered" in 1976, only behind the 2014-2016 West Africa outbreak where 28,000 people were infected and some 11,000 died.

In October, WHO convened a meeting of global organisations, United Nations partners, countries at risk of Ebola, drug manufacturers and others to agree on a framework to continue trials in the next Ebola outbreak, whenever and wherever it occurs.

By comparing how well these work, scientists will be moving towards curing the disease and slashing the death tolls in future outbreaks. "We hope to one day say that the death and suffering from Ebola is behind us".

Ebola is believed to have killed 245 people in North Kivu and Ituri provinces where attacks by armed groups and community resistance to health officials have hampered the response.

'This tragic milestone clearly demonstrates the complexity and severity of the outbreak, ' Michelle Gayer, Senior Director of Emergency Health at the International Rescue Committee said in a statement.

The outbreak has been plagued by security problems, with health workers attacked by rebels in districts where the virus has been spreading.

They are also awash with violence and insecurity, particularly in the mineral-rich borderlands where militia activity has surged over the past year, all of which complicates the response to the outbreak.

This Ebola outbreak has 4 highly-effective, investigational Ebola vaccines being tested.

Ebola virus disease, which causes an often-fatal type of hemorrhagic fever, is endemic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

'No other epidemic in the world has been as complex as the one we are now experiencing, ' said Dr Oly Ilunga Kalenga, the DRC's health minister.

Given the complications, this Ebola outbreak will last at least another six months before it can be contained, World Health Organization emergencies chief Dr. Peter Salama has predicted. "We will not rest until this outbreak is finished". "But the problem is, working in such an unstable area, you have to be assured of safety of the vaccinators, and you have to be able to trace the potential contacts and get them vaccinated", Peter added.

This is what happened in Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, when people with malaria were filling Ebola treatment centres during the West African outbreak in 2014, he said.

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