537 Ebola Deaths Reported In DRC: UN

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported 537 deaths among the 844 cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since last August, a UN spokesman said on Wednesday.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said OCHA reported Wednesday that the DRC Ministry of Health last week requested 147 million U.S. dollar to cover "all aspects of the (Ebola) response for six months."

"As of 18 February, 844 cases and 537 deaths had been reported since the beginning of the outbreak in August 2018," Dujarric told reporters in a regular briefing. "Some 278 people have recovered from Ebola."

"The (DRC) Ministry of Health, the UN World Health Organization and their partners continue to respond to all alerts in the affected areas, and to scale up preparedness in non-affected health zones and in neighbouring countries," he said.

"Serious security incidents and community mistrust continue to hamper the response to Ebola."

While he did not elaborate on conditions in the eastern outbreak area, the Centre for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) of the University of Minnesota said the latest cases "underscore that Katwa, a city in the eastern reaches of the DRC, remains the current epicentre."

The CIDRAP also said that since August, over 80,000 people in the DRC and neighbouring countries have been vaccinated. The centre also reported security concerns over growing violence in the region.

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