Ebola is back, but are we better prepared to combat it in preventing the havoc is caused around Africa in 2013/2014?
The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is expected to last another three to four months and could spread at any time to Uganda or Rwanda, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
The WHO said on Thursday that the neighboring countries are well prepared but have not yet approved the use of a vaccine.
The most concerning area is the city of Beni in the DRC's North Kivu province, where dozens of people who may have been exposed to the disease are hiding from health workers, WHO emergency response chief Peter Salama told Reuters news agency.
Two Ebola patients slipped out of a treatment center this week in the Democratic Republic of Congo, aid agency Doctors Without Borders said, raising fears the virus may spread as health officials raced to trace anyone they may have encountered.
The patients died within a day.
The families of the two helped them leave the health facility in Mbandaka during the night Monday, said Rosie Slater, a spokeswoman for Doctors Without Borders, or MSF, an acronym for the French name Médecins Sans Frontières.
The rate of new Ebola cases has more than doubled since September after rebel violence in northeastern DRC caused response efforts to be briefly suspended, health officials said.
The International Rescue Committee said it was "alarmed" that there were 33 new cases between Oct. 1 and Tuesday, versus 41 cases during all of September.
"This is a sign not only that the outbreak is not under control, but that without full engagement from the community things could get a lot worse," said Michelle Gayer, the IRC's senior director of emergency health.
This month marks the ninth Ebola outbreak in Congo in four decades, with the most recent in May 2017.
Ebola first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and Congo, and the virus takes its name from a river in the latter. It is one of the world's most virulent diseases and is transmitted through direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids of infected people.
Humanitarian workers are struggling to calm community fears in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where 125 people have died from Ebola, and cases of the virus are spreading quickly.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday that 200 cases of the deadly virus have been registered in the current outbreak first detected on August 1, with 165 of them laboratory confirmed and 35 considered probable.
Among the latest individuals to test positive for Ebola is an employee of the United Nations, according to the head of UN peacekeeping mission, Leila Zerrougui.
Is Africa on the verge of another Ebola Attack? We hope not.
Source: Aljazeera, CNN
Image Credit: John More/Getty Images