An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo is at risk of spreading to major towns if the epidemic is not reined in, warned the The World Health organisation (WHO).
Eugene Kabambi, a WHO spokesman in Congo’s capital Kinshasa, told Reuters by phone: “The epidemic is not under control. On the contrary the situation is very, very serious.” Since last week, the death toll has risen by more than double.
Kamabi added that the WHO immediately needed an estimated $2 million had to be pay for measures to combat the outbreak.
“If nothing is done now, the disease will reach other places, and even major towns will be threatened,”
The outbreak was officially declared by the WHO on August 17; to date, 31 people have died in the DRC, including five health workers.
The Ebola virus is highly contagious — it is passed through bodily secretions and causes hemorragic fevers. Up to 90 per cent of those infected are killed.
Earlier this summer, a deadly endemic of different subtype of Ebola broke out in Uganda, the DRC’s neighbour to the east. The outbreak there has since subsided, and was considered relatively minor, according to Dr. Pierre Rollin, an epidemiologist at the centre for Disease Control (CDC) who worked firsthand to quarantine the outbreak in Uganda.
But Dr. Rollin told Business Insider that containment might be more difficult in the DRC, highlighting the fact that the DRC does not have the resources — including a modern lab — that Uganda does to combat rare viral outbreaks.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.