Over 600 cases of Ebola detected in Congo

United Nations helicopter

United Nations helicopter

Uganda is implementing a series of preventative measures to keep Ebola at bay, in the wake of an outbreak of the disease in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

"Ebola - the situation on Wednesday, January 2, 2019: a total of 608 cases (560 confirmed and 48 possible), 368 people died and 207 have recovered", the DRC Ministry of Public Health wrote on Twitter. The latest outbreak has a case fatality rate of about 60%.

A World Health Organization worker prepares to administer Ebola vaccination during the launch of an experimental vaccine in Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Last week an unidentified American doctor who was exposed to Ebola while treating patients in the DRC was transported to the United States to be monitored. The two provinces are among the most populated in the nation and border Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.

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"This person may have been exposed to the virus, but is not ill and is not contagious", said Dr. Ted Cieslak, infectious diseases specialist with Nebraska Medicine and an associate professor of epidemiology in the University of Nebraska Medical Center's College of Public Health. An outbreak in West Africa in 2014 killed 11,000 people before it was controlled.

"Mass protests that erupted in recent days over a delay in Congo's presidential elections have also frustrated the work of aid officials". The vote, which was held Sunday, followed a violent campaign season marked by conflict between militant groups and government forces.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has lauded Uganda for the Ebola preparedness response mounted, so far, in the high-risk districts of the country. "After an intensification of field activities, we were seeing hopeful signs in many areas, including a recent decrease in cases in Beni", he said in a December 28 statement. "That would be a tragedy for the local population, who have already suffered too much". Additionally, 53,917 people have been vaccinated since early August.

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