HealthWorld

Ebola epidemic in Congo can now spread to other countries, Red Cross preparing for the rescue

An outbreak of lethal disease ebola has again affected Congo and has taken nearly 140 lives so far. The disease is in a verge of spreading to other neighboring countries as well so the Red Cross has stepped up to prepare the countries for the outbreak.

According to the sources, the major problems in addition to fear and ignorance to fight against the epidemic are believed to be the war and violence. Two health workers were killed by rebels in the town of Butembo outside Beni on Saturday. Congo’s health minister calls the killings for a “black day” for all who fight the virus disease.

Danger of spreading

The Red cross has taken a step to prepare the people for the deadly disease in Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda as it fears the spread of virus.

Norwegian Red Cross has also sent a health coordinator. According to him, the outbreak of ebola in Congo could be one of the major outbreaks so far.

“The outbreak in Congo is moving towards one of the major outbreaks we have seen. The danger of further proliferation is absolutely real since people are moving both in Congo and neighboring countries, “said Tonje Tingberg, Health Coordinator of the Norwegian Red Cross, in a press release.

The World Health Organization’s recent update shows that out of the 220 infected, 140 have died so far as a result of the disease.

The latest eruption has its center in Beni, a city in the province of North Kivu on the border with Uganda.

Population disinclined towards preventative measures

The country’s Health Minister Oly Ilunga earlier stated that, “the new outbreak is partly a result of the population’s reluctance to take measures to gain control”.

Health workers from outside are in quite danger as the fear and ignorance of the disease have created suspicion against them. A number of assault cases have also been reported after which the authorities have had to take action to protect the health workers.

The area where health workers work is highly dangerous and is described as “war zone“. They hear he gun shots on daily basis and and are escorted in and out of the area due to the fear of attack.

Traditional forms of funeral not safe anymore

The Red Cross stated in a press release that “One of the challenges of emergency relief organizations in the affected area is to explain that the traditional forms of funerals are not safe enough”.

A dead ebola-smeared person is highly contagious and can infect others if the body is not properly handled. But safe funerals are a challenge to the authorities when furious family members reject health workers being involved in what is a very private ceremony.

(© NTB)

 

 

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