From Attacks to Deaths, Key Facts About Congo's Escalating Ebola Epidemic

The Associated Press

Ebola epidemic has now exceeded 1,000 cases, the country's Health Ministry said on Monday, with a death toll of 629.

The outbreak has been raging since August in the country's North Kivu and Ituri provinces, which sit on the eastern side of the country, bordering South Sudan, Uganda, and Rwanda.

In a statement from the International Rescue Committee (IRC), which is helping 59 facilities in the outbreak region with infection control and working to protect women and children, Tariq Riebl, IRC's Emergency Response Director in the DRC, said the 58 cases recorded in the last week show an alarming spike in activity.

Director-General of World Health Organization said: "This outbreak has gone on far too long". IRC's team in North Kivu are redoubling their efforts to understand the concerns of people living in the impacted communities and to work with them to quash this outbreak.

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Although the risk for contracting Ebola is low for most travelers to DRC, other infectious disease risks remain high, including the risk for malaria.

Though more than 96,000 people have been vaccinated in the country, and more than 44 million border screenings have helped to slow the spread of Ebola, the risk of national and regional spread remains very high, especially when episodes of violence and instability impact the response, the World Health Organization warned in a statement.

Now the United Nations health agency has more than 700 people in the DRC addressing the concerns of the affected communities. "It is also based on the head of the family, who accepts that all family members are vaccinated after one of them has been infected with Ebola", Kalenga said.

Mercy Corps is repeating its call for urgent funds and investment into building community trust and engagement so there is a clear understanding of the disease, and how it is spread. "There are no quick fixes", he said. "But we are learning and adapting to the evolving context every day".

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