The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday that the risk of Ebola spreading in the Democratic Republic of Congo and neighboring countries remains "very high", before hemorrhagic fever is qualified of "enemy". WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the start of the organization's annual meeting in Geneva: "Ebola is not taking sides. It is the number one public enemy. He also warned that the current outbreak was "one of the most complex health emergencies we have ever faced".
More than 1,100 people have died since last August, when the Congolese Ministry of Health declared a tenth outbreak of Ebola in the country affected by the conflict in 40 years. According to the WHO, some 200 people died in May alone.
Dr. Tedros said, "If we do not come together to end this epidemic, we run the risk of seeing it spread, become larger and more aggressive.
"We are not just fighting a virus. We fight against insecurity. We fight against violence.
"We are fighting against misinformation … and against the politicization of an epidemic.
"The risk of spreading the Ebola virus remains very high."
The Ebola virus is highly contagious and spreads by contact with body fluids. It causes hemorrhagic fever with severe vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding and is often fatal.
WHO's warning follows a recent increase in infections in the volatile northeastern part of the country, where political infighting in the capital Kinshasa and militia violence have proved fertile ground for the killer virus.
The distrust of local residents vis-à-vis foreigners has also hampered efforts to fight the epidemic, affecting the ability of health workers to assist patients and provoking violent attacks on treatment centers.
Since January, there have been dozens of attacks against Ebola sanitary facilities by armed insurgents. In mid-April, a Cameroonian WHO doctor who had been deployed to cope with the outbreak was killed by local rebels.
Mr. Tedros warned, "Every attack confers on the virus a benefit and prevents health workers from acting."
Earlier this month, the WHO warned that it was unlikely that the outbreak would be under control unless the violence ceased, after the attacks stopped responding activities for nearly a year. five days.
The health agency said in a statement: "Without the commitment of all groups to stop these attacks, it is unlikely that this Ebola outbreak will remain successfully contained in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri. "
Local communities have also resisted high-security burials, which are part of a broader strategy to minimize the risk of infection by bodily fluids.
Safe burials are particularly sensitive because some family members reject the intervention of health teams at the time of a deep intimacy, many wishing to put their lives in danger.
The epidemic is the second deadliest ever recorded after an outbreak that killed more than 11,300 people in West Africa in 2013-2016.
Mr Tedros, however, pointed out some important advantages, indicating that WHO had vaccinated some 120,000 people against Ebola and that four experimental treatments had been administered to 800 patients. In addition, no cases have been recorded in neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.