Here we go again…

The Ebola outbreak in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has now surpassed the country’s outbreak earlier in the year, and officials from the World Health Organization (WHO) said they are are “even more worried” after visiting the affected communities.

At a press briefing at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said that as of yesterday, there are now 57 cases, including 30 confirmed, and there have been 41 deaths — surpassing the 53 cases and 29 deaths in the prior outbreak.

Security continues to be a major problem in this part of the DRC, with more than 100 armed groups operating in the province. Ghebreyesus said that since January, the area has seen 120 violent incidents.

“The night we stayed in Bene, there was fighting within 15 km [of us], four civilians were killed, and many were kidnapped.”

Ghebreyesus added that “red zones” — where armed groups are operating — are extremely conducive to transmitting Ebola, and that infected people in those areas may be unable to move to get the treatment they need.

In addition to security, officials also cited high population density, as well as the number of healthcare workers already infected with Ebola in the city of Mangina, as issues that are unique to this outbreak.

Measles Outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo Kills 400

More than 23,000 people, mostly children, have been infected with measles in the Katanga region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. More than 400 have died, according to United Nations agencies and Doctors Without Borders.

In one village of 500, more than 30 children under age 5 died within two months — a third of all the children in that age group. “Their little graves are still visible in the cemetery,” said Augustin Ngoyi, the response coordinator for Doctors Without Borders.

The epidemic started in February, but as of early this month, the central government in Kinshasa had not acknowledged that it was underway and deaths were not being officially counted, he said.

Doctors Without Borders has vaccinated more than 300,000 children, but it has been difficult. The vaccine must be kept cold, and two shots, weeks apart, are needed for full protection.

Vaccinate your children, folks. There is no reason for children to die from these diseases.

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