DR Congo Ebola outbreak second largest in history

DR Congo Ebola outbreak second largest in history

The World Health Organization (WHO) has sounded alarm to the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) deadly Ebola outbreak with 426 cases reported so far.

DRC and other health officials report a number of issues with this outbreak that are making efforts to contain quite challenging-North Kivu is home to a number of armed groups and the violence that goes with that is hampering efforts.

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

"We haven't seen the height of this outbreak", she warned as Ebola continues to move into new areas in DRC, worrying close to a heavily traveled border with Uganda.

"The good is we have a vaccine now".

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. "But the problem is, working in such an unstable area, you have to assure to safety of the vaccinators, and you have to be able to trace potential contacts, and get them vaccinated".

A world-first drug trial for Ebola has begun in the Democratic Republic of the Congo amid a killer outbreak. Many new cases have been unrelated to known infections, alarming evidence that gaps in tracking remain.

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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. "While the numbers are far from those from West Africa in 2014, we're witnessing how the dynamics of conflict pose a different kind of threat", said Michelle Gayer, senior director of emergency health at the International Rescue Committee.

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

New statements in two top medical journals this week are calling on the U.S.to change its mind and send its experts back where they are sorely needed.

"It is in USA 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.

Ebola is a serious, often-fatal disease that is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads from human to human through the bodily fluids of people who exhibit symptoms.

The DRC is in the throes of a major campaign ahead of a 23 December election to choose a successor to President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the vast central African country since 2001.

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