Children who die from ebola at an unprecedented rate in the Congo – Ministry of Health

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PHOTO FILE: A Congolese health worker administers the ebola vaccine to a boy who has had contact with an Ebola patient in the village of Mangina, in the province of North Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on August 18, 2018 REUTERS / Olivia Acland / File Photo

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) – Children in the Democratic Republic of Congo die from an unprecedented rate due to Ebola, largely due to poor health practices in clinics run by traditional healers , today the Ministry of Health said.

The impact on children was felt acutely in the city of Beni, which emerged as the new epicenter of the epidemic. Of the 120 confirmed cases of Ebola in Beni, at least 30 are under 10 years old and 27 of them died, according to data from the health ministry.

Many children with an unrelated malaria outbreak near Beni are thought to have contracted ebola in clinics run by traditional healers who also treated patients with ebola, Jessica Ilunga said. spokesperson for the Ministry of Health.

"There is an abnormally high number of children who have contracted and died of Ebola in Beni. Normally, in every Ebola outbreak, children are not as affected," Ilunga told Reuters.

"Traditional healers use the same tools to treat everyone, and the child who entered the clinic of a traditional malaria healer goes out with Ebola and dies several days later," he said.

The rate of new cases in the east of the Congo has accelerated in recent weeks. An emergency committee of the World Health Organization said at the beginning of this month that the epidemic could worsen significantly unless the response was strengthened.

The health ministry has reported nine new cases confirmed late Saturday – seven in Beni and two in the city of Butembo – the biggest daily jump of a day since the epidemic was declared on August 1st.

Hemorrhagic fever is believed to have killed 168 people and infected 98 others in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, where attacks by armed groups and community resistance to health officials have complicated the response.

The Congo has suffered 10 outbreaks of Ebola since the virus was discovered near the homonymous river Ebola in 1976. The current is now in third place for confirmed number of cases.

Reporting by Fiston Mahamba and Giulia Paravicini; Editing by Aaron Ross and Toby Chopra

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