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Updated On: Sunday, 16 December 2018
Development Issues

Conflict in new Ebola zone of DR Congo exacerbates complexity of response: WHO emergency response chief

Content by: UN News Centre

“We know for example that there have been around 20 deaths,” Dr. Peter Salama, Deputy Director General of Emergency Preparedness and Response, told journalists in Geneva.

“We can’t at this stage confirm whether they are all confirmed or probable Ebola cases,” he added.

“We expect however that the overall case count will rise in coming days to weeks, based on the trajectory of epidemics at this stage in their development.” 

Speaking just over a week after the UN agency declared the last Ebola episode over, some 2,500 miles away to the west in DRC’s Equateur province, Dr. Salama said that WHO was unaware of the public health emergency in North Kivu province at that point.

It’s going to be a very, very complex operation - Dr. Peter Salama (WHO)

The outbreak on the western side of the country in June, infected dozens, and led to 33 deaths, but despite several cases appearing in a major city on the Congo River, it was fully contained after a massive international and national response.

The top WHO official said that there was “no evidence” to suggest a link between the two outbreaks, although it appears “very likely” that they share the same deadly Zaire strain.

The death toll from the current Kivu episode is likely to rise, the WHO official said, adding that the alert was raised on 25 July after a woman and many members of her immediate family died after exhibiting symptoms consistent with Ebola.

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