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Giving Compass' Take:
• In this story from The Hill, author Reid Wilson investigates the state of the Ebola crisis in Katwa, which one expert describes as "the biggest threat we face right now."
• Responders say the outbreak is largely a result of distrust that residents of the area hold against outsiders, including their own government and organizations trying to supply aid. What strategies can be employed to drive cooperation?
• To learn more about how one philanthropic group is tackling the Ebola crisis, click here.
An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in two eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo is growing in a large urban center where residents are distrustful of outside health officials, posing a massive challenge to national and international responders racing to contain the disease.
For six months, the Ebola virus has raged through North Kivu and Ituri provinces, along Congo’s border with Uganda and Rwanda. It is now the second-worst Ebola outbreak in modern history, infecting 774 people, according to Congo’s health ministry.
Of those infected, 481 have died.
The Ebola virus is most contagious in the very last stages of life, when a victim carries the highest viral load. Those who do not seek treatment risk infecting family members who care for them and wash bodies for burial; the majority of infected patients in recent outbreaks contracted the virus from a deceased family member.
Responders said the outbreak is worsening in Katwa because of a deep mistrust that residents in the area, members of the Nande tribe, hold against outsiders, including their own government based in far-off Kinshasa.
Global health officials have deployed a vaccine that appears to be working. More than 72,000 people in Congo have received the vaccine in recent months, the health ministry said Sunday. And because the region borders other nations, health officials including Americans from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been preparing front-line health workers in Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan for the possibility that the virus could jump across international boundaries.
That spread has not happened yet, but health officials said it remains a possibility. But the spread of Ebola throughout Katwa is the region’s most pressing concern.
Read the full article about Ebola by Reid Wilson at The Hill