The Ebola outbreak, which affects the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since August 1, has already become the worst in the country's history and the second in the world after that affected by West Africa in 2014-2016. According to data provided of the Congolese health ministry this Sunday, the current outbreak has already reached 489 cases and 280 deaths in excess of the epidemic in 1976 when 318 people were sick and by the number of deaths after that.
The current outbreak was announced in the North Kivu area and has now been extended to Ituri, areas where various armed groups have been working for decades in endless conflict, which complicates access for health care to many people. places, as well as their mobility. "The circumstances of this epidemic are different and make it very complicated, and my feeling is that if things do not change, it will last between six and nine months," says Luis Enkinas, a Spanish nurse and Ebola's expert in Medico Gren Fronteras, who returned three weeks ago from the affected area.
Last Thursday, two armed attacks were committed that killed 18 civilians in Benny, very close to the epicenter of the outbreak and allegedly committed by the radical Islamic militia "Allied Democratic Forces" (ADF), according to an English acronym. Armed incidents and abductions are very common in the area. Last November, the army and the intervention brigade of the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo launched an offensive to try to destroy the camps of this armed group that is leading 23-year-old riots in this country and Uganda. ,
Following the outbreak, the government and the international community reacted relatively quickly and mobilized staff and resources in the affected area. In fact, for the first time, the application of several experimental treatments was coupled with a broad vaccination campaign that reached about 42,000 people, according to Congolese Health Minister Oli Ilunga last week. However, the refusal of many communities to declare cases, vaccinate or transfer their patients to treatment centers complicates things further.
"The epidemic is branching out," adds Encinas, "with hidden transmission chains." We are not in the 2014 epidemic that arose in an area where people moved a lot from one country to another, but would be catastrophic if they Gomma or refugee camps in South Sudan In addition to the uncertainties and shortcomings of community work that underpins the population's refusal to receive healthcare, the GSC expert adds three more key factors: "There is a high population density in cities like Beni and Butembo, there has never been one an epidemic of this disease here and the health system is very fragile, is weakened and this, for example, leads to the fact that the standards for the protection of healthcare personnel are below the acceptable minimum values. A total of 44 health workers are already infected and 12 have died, according to the ministry.
The worst Ebola outbreak in history was announced at the end of March 2014 in Guinea and quickly spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone. Two years after reaching Mali and Nigeria, isolated cases in Senegal, Spain – where Sister Teresa Romero's assistant was infected – and the United States were terminated in 2016 with a total of 28,646 infections and 11,323 deaths.