BENI, KONGO – The second most dangerous outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in history is "expected" to continue for three to four months, the Congolese minister of health said today.
In an interview for The Associated Press, Health Minister Oly Ilung also sought to calm down concerns over the presidential election when millions of people would use touch voting equipment. The murderous Ebola virus spreads through infected body fluids, so some are afraid they can take it out of the screen.
The minister said measures had been taken. Several tons of manual disinfection was deployed for use in polling stations across the eastern congressional zone, and voters are encouraged to sanitize their hands before and after using the machines.
Up to now, 549 Ebola cases have been reported at 1 August, including 501 confirmed cases. 278 deaths were confirmed.
This outbreak of the Ebola epidemic is the most complicated in history amid attacks by rebel groups, the Health Minister said. But in good development, they see "clear, clear and clear improvements" in the community's reaction to Ebola's efforts.
The response to prudent places like Beni, where more than 1,000 people have been killed in recent years, has been harsh in some cases, and some health workers have attacked. This is the first time the eastern Congo faced an outbreak of the epidemic, and the respondents fought against rumor and misunderstanding.
There is still a risk of confrontation every time the virus spreads to a new area, the Health Minister said. But "today we can see that there is a generally acceptable engagement in the community."
Ebola is perhaps an extension to the so-called "Red Zone," where the threat of rebel attack makes the response almost impossible, remains concerned.
The minister said his biggest concerns could continue to extend Ebola to other large cities in eastern Congo, such as Goma, near the border with Rwanda, and across the heavily traveling border to Uganda, which has already begun to provide Ebola with the leading healthcare professional.
Uganda is the target of "intensive cooperation" with health officials, the minister said.
He said that every time a new Ebola case is declared, health officials must allow about 60 days from this date without new cases before the outbreak occurs.