The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday it was concerned the Ebola outbreak in the Equator province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo could turn deadlier.
“There is currently a delay of about 5 days from the onset of symptoms to when an alert about a suspected case is raised.
“This is concerning, because the longer a patient goes without treatment, the lower their chances of survival, and the longer the virus can spread unseen in communities,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at his regular press briefing from Geneva.
“The situation has been further complicated by a strike by health workers, which is affecting activities including vaccination and safe burials.
“DRC has the best-trained workforce in the world for Ebola. This situation needs to be resolved as quickly as possible,” Tedros added.
For now, the outbreak continues to increase and to spread geographically.
There are now 100 cases and 43 deaths in 11 health zones across the province.
Tedros said the WHO and its partners are working intensively in communities to find cases and shorten the delay.
“We’re also supporting the government of DRC to take a stronger role in the response, and to prepare areas that have not been affected so far.
“There continues to be an urgent need for increased human resources and logistics capacity to support an effective response across an ever-expanding geographical area, and to help health officials identify cases earlier.
“The government of DRC has developed a plan that needs about US$40 million. We urge partners to support this plan,” he said.