Congo's Ebola outbreak now 2nd largest in history

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Dozens of rebel groups are active and attacks by them have forced workers to halt Ebola containment for days at a time. Many new cases have been unrelated to known infections, alarming evidence that gaps in tracking the disease remain.

This put the total cases over the 2000 Uganda outbreak (425) to become the second largest Ebola outbreak since it was "discovered" in 1976, only behind the 2014-2016 West Africa outbreak where 28,000 people were infected and some 11,000 died.

Some 198 people have died of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the start of an outbreak in late July, the country's Health Ministry said on Friday.

In the Journal of the American Medical Association, one group noted that the United States government weeks ago ordered all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention personnel - "some of the world's most experienced outbreak experts" - from DR Congo's outbreak zone because of security concerns. A separate one in the New England Journal of Medicine said: "Given the worsening of the outbreak, we believe it's essential that these security concerns be addressed and that CDC staff return to the field".

"This tragic milestone clearly demonstrates the complexity and severity of the outbreak".

Insecurity in the east of the country has affected the Ebola response.

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This clinical trial is the first-ever multi-drug trial for an Ebola treatment. Teams with the WHO and Congo's health ministry venture out on virus containment missions accompanied by United Nations peacekeepers or other armed security in areas where gunfire echoes daily.

Salama of World Health Organization predicted that the outbreak in the northeastern part of the country will last at least another six months before it can be contained.

North Kivu and Ituri are among the most populous provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and share borders with Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan. As emergency coordinator for MSF's Ebola response, Axelle Ronsse said, "we are now operating in a war zone".

World Health Organization has highlighted that more than 37,000 people have been given Ebola vaccinations.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) stated this in a statement released on Thursday, November 29, 2018.

In October, WHO convened a meeting of worldwide organisations, United Nations partners, countries at risk of Ebola, drug manufacturers and others to agree on a framework to continue trials in the next Ebola outbreak, whenever and wherever it occurs.

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