World Health Organization sounds alarm after Ebola resurfaces in DRC

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World Health Organization sounds alarm after Ebola resurfaces in DRC

Global health experts are urging the Trump administration to allow US government disease specialists - "some of the world's most experienced" - to return to northeastern Congo to help fight the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history.

WHO's emergencies chief, Dr. Peter Salama, called it a "sad toll" as Congo's health ministry announced the number of cases has reached 426. So far this outbreak has 198 confirmed deaths and 47 probable ones. So far this outbreak, declared on August 1, has 198 confirmed deaths, with an additional 47 probable ones, Congo's health ministry said.

"We haven't seen the height of this outbreak", she warned as Ebola continues to move into new areas in DRC, worrying close to a heavily traveled border with Uganda.

The world's worst outbreak - from 2014 to 2016 - killed more than 11,000 people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Attacks by rebel groups and open hostility by some wary locals have posed serious challenges that Ebola workers say they have never faced before.

Many venture out on critical virus containment missions only accompanied by United Nations peacekeepers in areas where gunfire echoes daily. There is also a reluctance among some residents to seek care or allow health workers to vaccinate, conduct contact tracing and perform safe burials, according to health officials. The trial is the first-ever multi drug trial for treatment of Ebola.

Last month, the WHO heeded the recommendation of an expert advisory committee to not declare the Democratic Republic of the Congo's latest Ebola epidemic a public health emergency of worldwide concern - a proclamation that would have mobilized more resources and garnered global attention.

Health workers on Wednesday launched a door-to-door, four-day blitz to control malaria in the Democratic Republic of Congo with the aim of cutting suspected Ebola cases in half. But it has drawn concern to areas that are virtually inaccessible because of the threat of rebel groups.

"This tragic milestone clearly demonstrates the complexity and severity of the outbreak".

He added that it was "highly likely" that the outbreak would not be under control for another six months. Over the past week, alerts have been reported from South Sudan and Uganda, though Ebola has been ruled out for all those cases thus far.

"It is in United States national interests to control outbreaks before they escalate into a crisis", one group of global health experts said in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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