The Democratic Republic of Congo's Ebola case spread at its fastest rate again, eight months after its first detection, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
Each of the last two weeks has registered the largest ever number of new cases, stating very suddenly efforts to respond to the second biggest ever episode, as militia violence and resistance t access to affected areas.
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Less than three weeks ago, the WHO said that the cause of hemorrhagig fever had been largely contained and could be prevented by September, noting that weekly case numbers had halved from earlier in the year to around 25.
But the record number reached 57 the following week, and then jumped to 72 last week, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said. Previous spices of around 50 cases were documented a week at the end of January and mid-November.
More alarmingly, about three quarters of Ebola's deaths occurred last week outside treatment centers, according to Congo health ministry data, which means there is much more chance for them to transfer the virus to; r those of their scope.
“People are infected without access to response measures,” Lindmeier told Reuters.
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The current case is believed to have killed 676 people and infected 406 others. A further 331 patients have recovered.
During the last two months, five Ebola centers have been attacked, some by armed soldiers. This led to the French medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) to stop its activities in two of the most affected areas.
Another challenge was the lack of trust of the first responders. A survey carried out last September by the medical journal The Lancet found that a quarter of people sampled in two Ebola hot spots did not believe the disease was real.
Lindmeier said that new approaches to community outreach showed signs of progress and that some previously hostile local residents had recently agreed to give access to health workers.
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One treatment center closed in February after being cut by anonymous attackers reopened last week.
More than 11,000 people died in the 2013 Western Ebola case in Africa. Since then, health authorities have worked to speed up their responses and use vaccine and experimental treatments, both of which have been considered effective.