Young children have highest rate of Ebola infection in DRC


A survey carried out by researchers from Harvard University earlier this year showed that one in four people in the worst affected areas thought the virus was fake and a third thought the outbreak was fabricated for either financial gain or to destabilise the region.

The International Rescue Committee's Ebola emergency response director, Tariq Riebl, said: "People are still afraid to come to health clinics if they are experiencing Ebola symptoms". It's called an appraisal meeting in Geneva while urging calm in Goma. But Congo's health minister, Dr. Oly Ilunga, insisted the situation was "not a humanitarian crisis".

Regardless of the Committee's decision, measures are already in place to prevent the transmission of Ebola from DRC across its vast borders.

"I want to say a huge thank you to the enormous number of actors who are on the ground, from the Congolese teams on the front line, to the Ministry of Health in the DRC to the WHO to NGOs".

Since the virus managed to travel so far, people became even more fearful that Ebola could spread outside the borders of Congo.

The governor of North Kivu, Carly Kasivita, told dpa, "Our response teams took care of the case immediately, but unfortunately, I can confirm the death of the patient".

"I think this is genuinely an global concern and it would be great to see other countries stepping in", he said, noting that Francophone knowledge of the region would be essential in combating ongoing community trust problems. Over the last weekend, two Ebola health workers died during an attack and the string of assaults does not show any signs of stopping any time soon.

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Goma had been making ready for the arrival of Ebola for a year, organizing hand-washing stations and making certain that moto-taxi drivers do not share helmets.

"Because of the speed with which the patient was identified and isolated, and the identification of all the other bus passengers coming from Butembo, the risk of it spreading in the rest of the city of Goma is small", the health ministry said in a statement.

Health experts fear outbreaks in major cities, where population density and high mobility make it far harder to isolate patients and trace contacts compared to the countryside.

From the start of this outbreak, the United Kingdom government has consistently supported the government of the DRC, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the wider UN and NGOs to stop the spread of this disease, providing financial, technical and political backing.

We work with trusted community-based psychosocial workers to counsel children and families before, during, and after treatment, to explain the process and support them every step of the way. An epidemic between 2013 and 2016 killed more than 11,300 people in West Africa.

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