Violence propels Ebola outbreak towards 1,000 cases

Surging conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is hampering efforts to stamp out the virus.

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More than 900 people have been sickened by the Ebola virus since it began spreading in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in early August. The outbreak, now the second-largest ever recorded, shows no sign of slowing — fuelled, aid workers and government officials say, by a toxic cocktail of violence and mistrust.

Conflict in the northeastern DRC, the centre of the Ebola outbreak, has surged in recent months. Political protesters robbed and burned an Ebola-treatment facility in Beni in late December, after the DRC government blocked more than one million people in areas stricken by Ebola from voting in the country’s presidential election. And last month, armed assailants torched treatment centres in Butembo and Katwa. Front-line Ebola responders in those cities — who disseminate health messages, track down potential cases and bury the dead — face threats and assaults nearly every day.

The constant violence has hampered efforts to contain the virus. 

By: Amy Maxmen/Nature News

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