US urged to send Ebola experts in as Congo outbreak worsens

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The World Health Organization reported late Thursday that it's found 426 cases - one more than a massive outbreak in Uganda almost two decades ago.

Ebola has killed 240 people and infected more than 400 in the DRC since July this year in an outbreak that shows little sign of abating.

DRC's health ministry said the number of confirmed and probable cases has reached 426, edging past the Uganda outbreak in 2000.

The largest epidemic of Ebola virus disease (EVD) recorded between December 2013 and April 2016, generated more than 28,000 cases and more than 11,000 deaths in the African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

This Ebola outbreak is like no other, with some health workers comparing the region to a war zone.

"The risk of the outbreak spreading to other provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as to neighboring countries, remains very high", said the World Health Organization in a written statement Thursday.

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Violence is common in the central African country and has made it hard to stop the Ebola outbreak - earlier in the same week eight United Nations peacekeepers and 12 local soldiers died in an ambush. Dozens of armed rebel groups are active, and their deadly attacks have forced responders to pause crucial Ebola containment work for days.

A Congolese health worker administers Ebola vaccine to a woman who had contact with an Ebola sufferer in the village of Mangina in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. "These trials will contribute to building that knowledge, while we continue to respond on every front to bring the current outbreak to an end".

Health workers found these were children being treated for malaria in the unofficial health centres - they believe people are confusing the two diseases because early symptoms, including fever, weakness and vomiting, are the same.

Insecurity in the east of the country has affected the Ebola response.

He added: 'Since their arrival in the region, the response teams have faced threats, physical assaults, repeated destruction of their equipment, and kidnapping. In addition to tracking and treating cases, frontline health workers are vaccinating tens of thousands of people.

"No other epidemic in the world has been as complex as the one we are now experiencing", the Congolese health minister, Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga, said in a November 9 statement. "Is there potential for requiring worldwide response?"

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