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Ebola Death Toll Climbs To 55 As Number Of Infected Rise; Congo Authorities Lay Plans For Crisis 

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DNC), South Africa, announced five new cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in the Mabalako hot zone of the North Kivu district, bringing the total number deaths to 55. Of the 69 currently infected with the disease, 13 are heath workers – just under 20%.

Photo: MSF UK

To manage the crisis, DNC officials have announced free treatment for all victims over the next three months, supplies are being delivered to vital areas, and new facilities are being constructed to handle the ill.

Health officials in Mabalako, Beni and Mangina are have been utilizing the unlicensed vaccine, rVSV-ZEBOV, which was used during another DRC Ebola outbreak earlier this year in which there were 33 fatalities out of 54 confirmed cases. The DRC, meanwhile, has said a new Ebola treatment center (ETC) will soon open in nearby Ituri province, as the currently established ETCs are at capacity.

Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesperson with the World Health Organization (WHO), told CIDRAP News that 13 healthcare workers have tested positive for Ebola, a troubling development, because infected health workers were one of the main factors in the rapid spread of the disease during the 2013-2016 outbreak in West Africa.

Jasarevic also commented on a recent UNICEF report that said children were being infected at high rates during this outbreak. –CIDRAP News

“The case distribution is slightly younger than what we might expect when compared to previous outbreaks, but still within the general range; each outbreak is different,” said Jasarevic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced over Twitter that 10 vaccination rings had been identified around 28 recently confirmed cases, while around 1,300 have been vaccinated.

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