Ebola outbreak in DR Congo now second worst in history

WHO says DRC Ebola outbreak second largest in history

Ebola outbreak kills 19 under one week in DR Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo's Ebola outbreak has been deemed as the second largest in history, the World Health Organization disclosed Thursday, in connection with the deadly West Africa outbreak that killed thousands a few years ago, AP reported.

According to United Nations health body, there have been struggles to contain the disease since the outbreak in August with armed conflict in the eastern city of Beni in North Kivu, hampering efforts to curb the disease.

Dr Peter Salama, emergency response chief at the World Health Organization (WHO), last month warned the current Ebola outbreak would only get worse.

245 deaths (198 confirmed and 47 probable) have been recorded to date.

Because the data collected in the North Kivu epidemic is unlikely to be sufficient for a complete study, the country's health ministry said the clinical trial may extend over a five-year period to cover Ebola outbreaks in other countries.

The outbreak is the tenth in DRC since Ebola was first detected there in 1976.

Peter Jay Hotez of Baylor College of Medicine said they have the vaccine now.

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Late on Thursday, officials declared this outbreak second only to the devastating West Africa one that killed more than 11 000 from 2014-2016. There is also a reluctance among some residents to seek care or allow health workers to vaccinate, conduct contact tracing and perform safe burials, according to health officials. More than 37 000 people have received Ebola vaccinations, and DRC has begun the first-ever trial to test the effectiveness and safety of four experimental Ebola drugs. Despite that, Ebola outbreak in "red zones", areas that are inaccessible due to the looming threat of rebel groups, is a major concern.

"This tragic milestone clearly demonstrates the complexity and severity of the outbreak".

There are also concerns regarding the high number of young children affected with the virus, according to the WHO.

The case fatality rate is now 57 percent, which the International Rescue Committee, a nongovernmental aid organization, said is higher than typically seen at this stage of an Ebola outbreak, especially since a vaccine for prevention as well as experimental drug treatment are available for the first time. Two top medical journals this week have published commentaries calling on the U.S.to change its mind and send them back where they are sorely needed.

"It is in United States national interests to control outbreaks before they escalate into a crisis", one group of global health experts said in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The hemorrhagic fever is spread through contact with bodily fluids and symptoms include vomiting, bleeding, diarrhoea, fever, muscle aches, fatigue and severe headaches.

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