Kinshasa: – In the second outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus which hit DR Congo this year, the government recorded more than 200 deaths. The health ministry has claimed that it is the worst Ebola outbreak to have hit DR Congo in history. Given the increasing extent of the epidemic in DR Congo, the neighbouring country of Uganda has initiated preventive measures to counter the epidemic with additional screening and stocks of the vaccine doses.
The new Ebola outbreak is on a rampage in the eastern parts of DR Congo and has claimed more than 200 lives. With over 300 confirmed cases of Ebola, the number of probable cases the local officials fear may be even higher. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had raised concerns in the last month, over the situation in the virus-hit region worsening due to the ongoing rebel conflict here.
The outbreak began in the Kivu and Ituri regions of DR Congo in the month of August. It is the first time in the past four decades that the Ebola outbreak occurred in the Northeast region of the country. Within the first fortnight of August, a staggering 44 people had lost their lives owing to the virus. Subsequently, alongside the WHO, the government undertook large-scale measures with help from international and local NGO’s to bring the epidemic under control.
Even so, the extent of Ebola seems to be increasing consistently. A WHO report states that more than 5,000 people are estimated to be infected by the virus. In 1976, DR Congo witnessed the first-ever Ebola outbreak. The country was hit by Ebola nine times, and the August epidemic is the tenth instance of it.
More than 200 people were reported to have died in the epidemics in 1976 and 1995. The current outbreak is the third time the epidemic claimed more than 200 lives. Despite having better infrastructure, preventive measures and financial provisions, the rise in the number of victims is regarded alarming. Considering the increase in the spread of the epidemic in DR Congo, the neighbouring countries have become restless, and the government of Uganda has already initiated preventive actions in response. More than 2,000 Ebola vaccines have been kept ready to prevent an occurrence of the epidemic in Uganda, informed sources.