The Ebola Virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is spreading so quickly, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) believe the possibility that the virus will cross the border into Uganda is “very high.” According to the Associated Press, two patients near the border region tested positive for the virus last week. This latest outbreak began in early August.
According to the WHO, the epicenter for this outbreak is in the town of Beni, in North Kivu Province. As of September 30, there were a total of 161 confirmed cases of Ebola Virus and 105 deaths.
Regional violence complicates response
Although the WHO response teams have been working closely with medical officials from the DRC, their response to the areas hit hardest by the virus has been crippled by regional violence. According to a report from Voice of America, violent rebel militias and Islamic extremist groups have locked down parts of North Kivu, creating so-called “red zones” where aid workers are not safe. Peacekeeping forces assigned to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) are escorting medical workers into hostile regions.
“Between Beni and Oicha there is a Red Zone, said WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier. “Oicha, itself is not a Red Zone, but also getting to Oicha is possible with the help of MONUSCO, and we are very thankful for that.”