The latest Ebola outbreak which started last August has killed 1 965 people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday.
Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, told reporters at a press briefing in Switzerland’s Geneva that the situation remains serious, but said he hopes the high number of weekly cases will continue to drop.
“The outbreak has continued at a substantial but stable transmission intensity for the past ten weeks. Since mid June, we’ve observed approximately 80 new confirmed cases per week. Cases over the last two to three weeks have started to reduce, and we hope this trend will continue. We want to stress that risks of resurgence and further spread remain high,” he said.
Ryan added there has been substantial progress in the DR Congo’s ability cope with the outbreak, but he admitted that some misinformation spread through social media channels has misled many local people, while the complex conditions in the affected areas have made it more difficult to control the disease.
“The outbreak in eastern Congo has been the extreme environment in which this outbreak has occurred – an ongoing and chronic humanitarian crisis, ongoing conflict, an extremely weak health system and massive mobility amongst the population. I think first and foremost, the fact that the continued development of vaccines and the continued development of therapeutics means we now are in a position to use effective therapeutics and vaccines and that’s never been the case in a previous Ebola outbreak. That’s a major step forward,” said Ryan.