USA urged to send Ebola experts in as Congo outbreak worsens

Ebola outbreak kills 19 under one week in DR Congo

Starting on Wednesday, health workers planned to go door-to-door for four days in the town of Beni, delivering mosquito nets and anti-malarial drugs to 450,000 people, said the WHO.

Congo has suffered 10 Ebola outbreaks since the virus was discovered there in 1976. Of the deaths, 198 are confirmed to be from Ebola and 47 are probable.

It has been reported that more than 126 people have recovered from the virus.

WHO emergencies chief Dr Peter Salama on late Thursday called it "a sad toll" as Congo's health ministry announced the number of cases has reached 426.

A deadly rebel attack in September forced health workers to halt vaccinations and the tracing of people who have been in contact with suspected Ebola patients.

Global health experts are urging the Trump administration to allow USA government disease specialists to return to northeastern Congo to help fight the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history.

'No other epidemic in the world has been as complex as the one we are now experiencing, ' said Dr Oly Ilunga Kalenga, the DRC's health minister.

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"The outbreak is far from under control and it is highly likely that it will not be beaten for another six months".

Ebola has killed 240 people and infected more than 400 in the DRC since July this year in an outbreak that shows little sign of abating. "Yes we need to see more funds and resources mobilized, but also address the impacts of the protracted conflict".

The epidemic in a volatile part of the Democratic Republic of Congo is behind only the devastating West Africa outbreak that killed thousands a few years ago.

Malaria can normally be diagnosed with a rapid blood test, but the risk of ebola transmission means health workers have to rely on an assessment of symptoms, Mr Hoyer added.

The committee chairman, Robert Steffen, said they came to the decision by looking at three main criteria.

'We must continue to pursue a very dynamic response that requires permanent readjustments and real ownership at the community level'.

Despite its conclusion, the committee emphasized in a statement that the Congolese government, World Health Organization and partners "must intensify the current response" to the ongoing outbreak and that this "should be supported by the entire global community", or "the situation is likely to deteriorate significantly". "These trials will contribute to building that knowledge, while we continue to respond on every front to bring the current outbreak to an end".

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