First confirmed Ebola cases in DR Congo's South Kivu province

Henrietta Brewer
August 17, 2019

The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, said Friday people fleeing militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) Ebola area are increasing and they need humanitarian assistance.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the mass displacement of people "on the run" in the DRC has also hindered efforts to tackle the year-old Ebola virus outbreak, which has affected parts of the DRC's eastern Ituri and North Kivu province.

Two new patients have tested positive in the Mwenga area of South Kivu, adding to North Kivu and Ituri provinces where there are confirmed cases of the disease.

Some 2,800 people have been infected during the DRC's latest Ebola outbreak, its tenth to date, with more than 1,900 of those cases proving fatal. Those people will be vaccinated to reduce the risk that they will get Ebola.

The outbreak, which started on August 1 previous year, is the second largest in history.

Nearly all of the cases have been confined to areas in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, but in June, three people from one family died in neighbouring Uganda from Ebola after returning from the DRC via an unofficial crossing point.

Earlier this week, doctors announced positive news that two new drugs appear to be effective at saving lives of those who fall ill with Ebola. Researchers said more study is needed to nail down how well those two compounds work.

South Kivu is reportedly the third province attacked by Ebola in the DRC since the start of the 10th outbreak in late July a year ago in Ituri and later spread to North Kivu.

He told RNZ's Saturday Morning the monoclonal antibody drugs invented in Cambridge use existing antibodies in the body to fight the disease.

Last month, the WHO declared the outbreak a public health emergency of global concern just days after the virus spread to a major urban hub for the first time. He said people arriving in Goma are being monitored at the city's entry points.

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