It’s now or never for the World Health Organization (WHO) teams that are hoping to stop the Ebola Virus outbreak in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). According to a report from Voice of America (VOA), officials from the WHO say the next week is “critical” to halting the most recent outbreak of the deadly virus, which has already claimed 75 lives.
The outbreak, which is centered in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, began at the beginning of the month and has so far produced 111 reported cases, according to a report from the Daily Mail. To combat the outbreak, WHO teams have deployed experimental treatments to some of the affected areas. Regional violence, however, is complicating the response.
Christian Lindmeier, a spokesman for the WHO told VOA during an interview that peacekeeping soldiers assigned to The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) have escorted medical teams to the danger zones:“Between Beni and Oicha there is a Red Zone,” he said. “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.”
Oicha, a city in North Kivu, is believed to be one of the epicenters of the outbreak; however, it may be surrounded by Ugandan Islamist terrorists who have a long history of violence.
Despite the security concerns, the WHO is confident if its teams can reach the remote areas most threatened by Ebola, they can control the outbreak before it gets worse.
“The quicker we can respond and in which we can get to people, to talk to them about how to protect themselves, how to prevent infection, how to deal with infected family members and loved ones, the better it is for any future control,” Lindmeier said. “So, the earlier we get to any place where this outbreak could possibly reach, the better.”