WHO Optimistic on Controlling DRC Ebola Outbreak

The World Health Organization’s regional chief for Africa says prospects for rapidly controlling the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in Democratic Republic of Congo are good. WHO reports 29 suspected cases, including three deaths since the outbreak was discovered in a remote region of DRC on April 22.

The World Health Organization’s regional director for Africa does not underestimate the difficulties that lie ahead in bringing this latest outbreak of Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo to an end.

Matshidiso Moeti notes the outbreak is centered in a remote area where it is difficult to operate and to bring in the personnel and material needed to contain this deadly disease. But, she tells VOA she is very encouraged by the speed with which the government and its national and international partners have responded to this crisis.

“But, I am quite optimistic because this is a government that is experienced at this and which has got off to a very quick start and we are already on the ground with the partners,” she said. “We are getting logistic support from WFP [World Food Program] and from the U.N. mission. So, I am quite optimistic.”

This is the eighth recorded outbreak of Ebola in DRC since 1976. The deadly virus was first detected in Bas-Uele Province, a densely-forested area in northeastern Congo near the border with the Central African Republic.

Moeti calls the remoteness of the area a mixed blessing.

“It is, of course, an area from which we are not expecting rapid expansion of the outbreak to other localities due to population movement as happened in West Africa. Although, we are keeping a close eye on the Central African Republic…where we are concerned that there is insecurity there. There is some population movement there,” she said.

Moeti adds it is difficult to operate and carry out surveillance or investigations in this area because roads for car traffic do not exist. She says the government has fixed up a landing strip to enable helicopters to fly in the experts and material needed to combat this deadly disease.





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