Doctor in eastern Congo contracts Ebola in 'dreaded' scenario

Olivia Acland  Reuters

Oicha is nearly entirely surrounded by ADF Ugandan Islamist militia, there are "extremely serious security concerns", he said.

"Despite security challenges, a UNHCR team accessed the area north of Beni earlier this month and conducted humanitarian assessments in Oicha and Eringeti districts", he said, adding: "Residents told our staff about brutal attacks against the civilians carried out with machetes.

The virus has killed 63 people so far - out of 103 confirmed or probable cases - but Salama warned health workers were expecting "at least one additional wave of cases".

Also, Dr Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the discovery of Ebola infection in the hard-to-reach part of eastern DRC could mark a "pivotal" point in the response to the deadly disease.

Insecurity, coupled with local inexperience at confronting Ebola, means that volunteers from affected communities are playing an even more important role, with many people in the region believing that the illness is sent by spirits or ancestors, Baggio said.

Health workers in Democratic Republic of Congo have begun giving patients two experimental treatments to tackle the latest outbreak of Ebola as the number of cases climbs above 100, Reuters reports.

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Unlike the outbreak in Equateur province in May, North Kivu and Ituri are among Congo's most densely populated and its inhabitants are mobile - including across frontiers with Uganda and Rwanda.

The outbreak, the 10th to hit DRC since 1976, began on August 1 in the North Kivu town of Mangina.

The Congolese health ministry said four additional experimental therapeutic molecules (ZMapp; Remdesivir; Favipiravir; and Regn3450 - 3471 - 3479). The conflict area raises serious safety concerns for aid workers and hinders their access to treat the physician or any other individuals who become infected in the city.

The WHO has expressed concern that the violence in the province Kivu - entailing militias who often fight for control of resources, including a notorious Ugandan rebel force called the ADF, - could hamper the fight against rolling back the disease.

Ebola is highly contagious and can cause a range of symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, generalized pain and in many cases internal and external bleeding.

In the worst Ebola epidemic, the disease struck the West African states of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from 2013 to 2015, killing more than 11,300 people.

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