The deadly Ebola outbreak which has ravaged eastern Democratic Republic Congress for nearly four months has claimed another 19 lives in just five days, the health ministry has said.
The outbreak, which began on August 1, has now killed 241 people, the ministry said in a statement late Tuesday.
“There have been 241 deaths,” the ministry said in an update correct to November 26, indicating there had been a total of 421 cases, 374 of them confirmed, and another 47 probable. Another 74 suspected cases are under investigation.
The outbreak is the tenth in DRC since Ebola was first detected there in 1976. The crisis is centred around the restive eastern city of Beni in North Kivu, a region which has been blighted by armed conflict which has hampered efforts to curb the outbreak.
Ebola is a serious infectious disease that can spread rapidly through small amounts of bodily fluid, causing internal bleeding and potentially death.
DRC is in the throes of a major campaign ahead of a December 23 election to choose a successor to President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the vast central African country since 2001.
Since winning independence from Belgium in 1960, this poverty-stricken nation has never known a peaceful transition of power.