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Ebola control work resumes in eastern DR Congo after rebel attack

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Health workers involved in tackling Ebola in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo city of Beni on Wednesday resumed their outreach operations following a two-day suspension because of an attack by rebels.

21 people were killed when rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) attacked Beni, a flashpoint city in the North Kivu region on Saturday forcing Ebola control work to stop.

The local authorities agreed to allow the health workers to restart following a warning by the World Heath Organization (WHO) on Tuesday that the disease was likely to spiral out of control.

On Tuesday, the WHO warned of an Ebola ‘perfect storm’ brewing in the eastern DR Congo.

“We are now extremely concerned that several factors may be coming together over the next weeks to months to create a potential perfect storm. A perfect storm of active conflict limiting our ability to access civilians, distrust by segments of the community, already traumatized by decades of conflict and of murder, driven by a fear of a terrifying disease, but also exploited and manipulated by local politicians prior to an election,” WHO’s head of emergency response Peter Salama told a news conference in Geneva on Tuesday.

The WHO said efforts to control Ebola had to resume because it was spreading to border areas and Uganda was facing an imminent threat.

Health workers will now be able to continue with vaccinations and the tracing of people who have contact with suspected Ebola patients.

A hundred people have died since the start of the outbreak in July.

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