Outbreak News Today

Ebola death toll tops 200

In an update on the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in North Kivu and Ituru provinces in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Ministry of Health reported the death toll in the outbreak topped 200 on Friday, with the tally at 205 as of Nov. 10.

This digitally-colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicts a number of filamentous Ebola virus particles (red) that had budded from the surface of a VERO cell (blue-gray) of the African green monkey kidney epithelial cell line./NIAID

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the cumulative number of cases is 329, of which 294 confirmed and 35 probable.

The current outbreak is the country’s 10th and surpassed the previous largest outbreak in term of cases, which was in Yambuku in 1976 when there were 318 cases and 280 people died.

Ebola response teams have faced difficulties on the ground, with misinformation and mistrust due to decades of conflict contributing to a reluctance with some local populations to allow Ebola response teams to vaccinate, conduct contact tracing and perform safe and dignified burials.

“The fact that we have so far prevented Ebola from spreading into neighbouring countries is a testament to the hard work and determination of staff from all partners,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.  “As complex and challenging as this outbreak is, I am confident that working together with the Ministry of Health, MONUSCO and all our partners, we can and will end it.”

The statement from Dr Tedros does not line up with that of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director, Dr. Robert Redfield, who said recently that international public health experts need to consider the possibility that it cannot be brought under control and instead will become entrenched.