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The death toll in an Ebola outbreak that is sweeping eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has now exceeded 1,000 and efforts to contain and tackle the epidemic remain complicated by armed conflict and community mistrust.
Medical teams have fanned out across the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri to treat people in communities stricken by the deadly haemorrhagic virus. Yet the World Health Organization says it is now concerned about "intense transmission" of Ebola despite best efforts by front-line responders. Health workers and hospitals have been repeatedly attacked by armed groups, putting efforts to contain the spread of the virus in jeopardy.
Long-running ethnic conflict has also forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes and seek refuge in Uganda. Many have little option but to cross the border illegally, amplifying the risk of uncontained transmission of the virus far beyond North Kivu and Ituri.
While health professionals are battling to prevent the outbreak from claiming as many lives as those lost in the 2014 West Africa epidemic their efforts are challenged by persistent misconceptions about the virus among affected communities. Meanwhile the WHO remains concerned that a shortfall in funding is undermining attempts to stamp out the virus.
We'll look at what's being done to combat Ebola in eastern Democratic Reublic of Congo and consider what is needed to stop the virus in its tracks. Join the conversation.
On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Dr. Anne-Marie Pegg @iammovingagain
Clinical lead epidemic response and vaccination, MSF
Nicole Fassina @NicoleFassina
Regional Ebola operations coordinator, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Helen Branswell @HelenBranswell
Infectious diseases and public health reporter, STAT News
Dr. Michel Yao @drmichelyao1
Incident manager for Ebola, WHO
Why this Ebola outbreak is a special challenge – Associated Press
Why Does Ebola Keep Showing Up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo? – Scientific American
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