Ebola toll at 31 in DRC, says UN
14 September 2012, 16:06
Geneva - A deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus has
killed 31 people in north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, more
than doubling the death toll from a week ago, the UN health agency said
There are 69 cases in all including nine confirmed by a
lab, the World Health Organisation said, and five of the deaths have
been confirmed by lab work.
The Ebola virus has no cure and is deadly in 40% to 90% of cases. The disease causes severe internal bleeding.
"The situation is serious," Fadela Chaib, a spokesperson for the Geneva-based agency, told reporters.
said it was unusual that the first person to be infected was a health
worker. Normally someone working outside would have been the first, as
has mostly been the case in the eight previous Ebola epidemics in DRC
since the first discovery of it in 1976. This is the first outbreak in
the Haut-Uele territory, in north-eastern DRC.
said last week that 15 people had died in north-eastern Congo, where the
tradition of washing and displaying of corpses before funerals spreads
the epidemic. The tradition is intended to show love and respect for the
deceased, but the practice also brings people into close contact with
victims of the deadly virus.
Aid group Doctors Without Borders,
along with WHO and DRC’s health ministry, have been conducting education
campaigns in the area to warn people of the risks linked to this
Doctors without Borders also is managing two quarantine
centers in Isiro and Viadana and the UN has called for the creation of a
$2m fund to fight the epidemic.