Geneva. – The outbreak of Ebola from the Democratic Republic of Congo has spread to the south in an area with high security risks, the World Health Organization said.
The outbreak, the worst in the country, has killed 439 of the 713 people believed to have caught the disease. Fighting the Ebola depends on tracking people who may have had contact with the disease and can get sick and spread it.
But the outbreak in the Congo region with frequent struggles makes it difficult for health workers to move around and monitor potential sufferers and spread messages about how not to get sick.
Most of the cases from the beginning of the year were in Katwa's health area, where the WHO said that the Ebola workers were confronted with "pockets of mistrust in the community" and most people who were sick were not on lists of people, suspected of contact with Ebola.
"The epidemic has also spread south to the Kenya health area, a high risk area for security," the WHO said in a statement late Thursday. There are five cases in Kenya, which is located between the main zone of the hearth and the main city of Goma, which is close to the border with Rwanda.
The WHO said that after conducting a simulation exercise for Ebola in Rwanda, it sent a team to boost the country's readiness and to vaccinate healthcare workers who would be the first to come in contact with Ebola if they spread across the border.
However, the WHO spokeswoman, Fadela Chaib, said there was a drop in cases around the previous hot spot Benny.
"It is very premature to call a victory, it is true that we have had some success at Benny because all the steps we have taken have influenced, but unfortunately we see cases that occur in other areas," she said.
"The country not only faces the Ebola but also has other health threats just to name malaria, cholera, polio produced by vaccines, and a very long humanitarian crisis and a lot of violence in several regions."
More than 60,000 people were vaccinated in the Congo, as well as 2,500 people in Uganda, one of the countries with a "very high" risk of the disease.
Ceebe said there were 4,000 people in potential contact with Ebola under surveillance and 156 patients in hospital. – Reuters