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Ebola deaths in Congo surpass 1,700 after global emergency declared

At least 639 people have died from Ebola since August in DR Congo in what is now the second deadliest outbreak in history [Samuel Mambo-Reuters]Reuters

The death toll from Ebola in Congo has surpassed 1,700, the Ministry of Health said on Friday.

The ministry made the announcement shortly after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak in the central African country a global emergency.

The recommendation by WHO given on July 10 came after the first Ebola case was detected in Goma, a city of about two million people near the border with Rwanda.

WHO called on neighbours to boost risk coordination and “improve their preparedness for detecting and managing imported cases.”

Rwanda and other neighbouring countries, South Sudan, Uganda and Burundi in particular are on high alert.

Since 2018, eastern Congo has been at the centre of the second-worst Ebola outbreak in history and 1,705 people have now died from the virus.

Authorities and aid groups have struggled to control the outbreak, amid a local population suspicious of health workers and treatment centres being attacked and burned.

The health ministry has been vaccinating people who had come into contact with a Christian pastor, who died of the disease this week in Goma.

The ministry of health has not confirmed anyone else to have Ebola in the city.

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