KINSHASA, Congo — Ebola cases and deaths in eastern Congo have risen sharply in the past week, authorities said Tuesday, placing the blame on recurrent attacks on treatment centers and health workers.
There were 126 new cases and 83 deaths between April 22 and April 28, according to the Ministry of Health in Kinshasa.
The number of fatalities has risen rapidly, from around 600 at the end of March to over 900 a month later.
“As soon as there is a security incident, such as the destruction of the Ebola treatment centers or the murder of our colleague (from the World Health Organization), the main response activities are suspended for an indefinite period,” ministry spokeswoman Jessica Ilunga told dpa.
“Without these activities, the virus continues to spread and kill more people in the community,” she added.
So far there have been 1,480 cases and 970 deaths, since the outbreak — the second-largest in history — began last year.
Numerous militia groups operate in eastern Congo, most fighting over the country’s rich natural resources.
Authorities and aid groups have also had to deal with a local population suspicious of health workers and on April 19 a WHO epidemiologist, Richard Mouzoko, was killed by armed men.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was in Congo on Tuesday and expressed concern.
“I am also profoundly worried about the situation. Cases are increasing because of violent acts that set us back each time,” he said in a statement.
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