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Ebola Infection Outbreak
Ebola virus outbreak 600 infected Ebola virus has now infected more than 600 people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, making it the second-worst outbreak in history as the epicenter spreads south to a hard-hit city near the border with Uganda.
The Congolese health ministry said in a statement Tuesday that six new cases had been identified in the city of Katwa, where a rash of cases have been identified in recent weeks. There have now been at least 114 cases of the Ebola virus identified in Katwa, about one-sixth of those identified in the region as a whole.
At least 402 people have died of the virus in recent months, a mortality rate of 61 percent. The current outbreak is now second only to the 2013–2015 outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,300 people.
Public health officials are nervously watching the city of Butembo, a large trading hub about seven miles east of Katwa, for signs that the virus continues to spread. A new case was identified in Butembo on Tuesday.
Over the weekend, angry residents in the city of Marabo attacked health care workers building a new Ebola treatment facility in their midst, according to a report from a United Nations news agency in the region.
Several other health teams have been attacked in recent months in North Kivu, a province of 8 million residents and home to more than 1 million internally displaced people driven from their homes by ethnic violence.
“The situation is changing. It’s been complicated even further,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told The Hill in an interview last week. “It’s a high population density area, high mobility, high displacement, the chances are there for spread.”
Some CDC officials are on the ground in nearby countries like Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan, administering vaccines to health care workers in case the virus jumps over international borders.
Public health workers have vaccinated more than 60,000 people across the region, mostly front-line health care workers and those who have come into contact with an Ebola patient. Health officials have screened thousands of passengers traveling through the international airport in Goma, the largest city in North Kivu, with direct flights to Kinshasa, Congo’s capital.
And an American who had been evacuated to the United States after coming into contact with an Ebola patient was released by the Nebraska Medical Center after three weeks. The center, which did not identify the patient under observation, said the patient had not shown any symptoms of the Ebola virus.