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Ebola death toll exceeds 1,600 mark in DRC

  • 5 Jul 2019

Democratic Republic of Congo recorded 2,382 cases of Ebola, of which 1,606 were fatal, the Health Ministry says.

Ebola workers enter a house to decontaminate the body of a woman suspected of dying from Ebola, before the vehicle of the Health Ministry Ebola response team was attacked in Beni, northeastern DRC, June 24, 2019. ( AFP )

Deaths from an 11-month-old epidemic of Ebola in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have crossed the 1,600 mark, and a new fatality has been reported near the border with Uganda, the Health Ministry said on Friday.

As of Thursday, the health authorities had recorded 2,382 cases of Ebola, of which 1,606 had been fatal, it said.

A ministry spokesman told AFP news agency that a patient whose infection had been reported on Monday in Ariwara, in Ituri province bordering Uganda, had died.

The fatality is a mother from neighbouring North Kivu province whose five children had become infected with Ebola, two of whom had died.

She had gone to Ituri in order to evade Ebola response teams, the ministry said.

Ariwari lies in northern Ituri, about 10 km from Uganda and some 60 km from South Sudan.

"So far, 177 people who have been in contact with the family have been identified in Ariwara and 40 have already been vaccinated," the DRC ministry said.

The disease broke out in North Kivu before spreading to Ituri.

Two people also died in Uganda in June after a family returned from eastern Congo where they had buried an Ebola-stricken relative.

Epidemic worst on record 

The current epidemic is the worst on record after more than 11,300 were killed Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in an outbreak between 2014-2016.

Ebola spreads among humans through close contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person, or objects contaminated by such fluids.

Separately on Friday, the UN said the Ebola risk in Ituri was being heightened by the violence that has caused people to flee their homes, forcing them to gather in places with poor hygiene that were vulnerable to the spread of disease.

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