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Ebola infections surge amid violence and distrust in DRC

The spike in new infections this month has been the highest in this most recent outbreak, which the DRC declared last August in north-eastern North Kivu.

FILE: Healthcare workers look after a patient with Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Johnson & Johnson will now introduce an Ebola vaccine. Picture: @WHO/Twitter.

PRETORIA - Under a cloud of violence and distrust, the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is surging out of control.

Serious concerns around safety have been raised after a Cameroonian doctor working with the World Health Organisation was killed in an attack on an Ebola treatment centre in Butembo on Friday.

Ebola has killed nearly 900 people in the eastern DRC in the past nine months. The spike in new infections this month has been the highest in this most recent outbreak, which the DRC declared last August in north-eastern North Kivu.

Locals who feel the haemorrhagic symptoms of the disease refuse to get treatment, fearing they will die or be killed in the treatment centres. They have chased off foreign health workers, claiming they brought Ebola to the DRC and are there to make money.

Political suspicions have also reached fever pitch as the area was excluded in the election last December on account of Ebola.