The health ministry of the Democratic Republic of Congo has reported that the number of cases in the latest Ebola outbreak has now surpassed 1,000. The number of cases stands at 1,009, of which 944 are confirmed and 65 probable. The death toll now stands at 629, with 564 are confirmed from Ebola and 65 probable. Roughly 320 Ebola patients have recovered from the disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a rise in the weekly rate of confirmed Ebola cases last week, with 58 new cases reported. That was the highest rate in a week for all of 2019, according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC). This comes after several weeks of declines.
With a case fatality rate of about 60 percent, this is the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history and the most severe ever seen in the Central African nation since 1976. There have been ten outbreaks of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since the virus was first identified. The deadliest outbreak on record occurred in West Africa in 2014, infecting 28,652 people and killing 11,325, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most of the cases have been recorded in the towns of Katwa and Beni in North Kivu province. An Ebola death was confirmed in Bunia in Ituri province last week. So far, Ebola cases haven’t spread outside of those provinces, but the WHO says that the risk of national and regional spread remains “very high.”
Health and frontline workers have had to cope with sporadic violence in the DRC, complicating response efforts. Earlier this month, a police officer was killed when militants attacked an Ebola treatment center. Doctors Without Borders suspended operations in the province of North Kivu on Feb. 28 after two attacks on Ebola treatment centers.