The outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is being touted as the second worst in history has crossed 1,000-case mark.
According to the Congolese health ministry, 944 of the 1,000 cases were confirmed to be Ebola while 65 are still probable. The death toll, meanwhile, has reached 629.
"We use words like 'cases' and 'containment' to be scientific, but behind every number is a person, a family and a community that is suffering," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization. "This outbreak has gone on far too long."
Ebola Cases On The Rise
After several weeks of decline, the WHO reported an increase of confirmed cases of Ebola in the DRC. The organization said that the "increased security challenges" that humanitarian groups have faced in the country have hampered any effort to control the outbreak.
Just this month, militants attacked a treatment center in North Kivu, injuring a staff member and killing a police officer. Two other militant attacks in February forced the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders to temporarily suspend medical activities. The United States also pulled out its government employees last summer.
The province of North Kivu has been suffering from long-term conflicts. Dozens of armed groups stage attacks, disrupting humanitarian work and exacerbating the ongoing outbreak. WHO said that it has received additional support from the United Nations and the local police to protect Ebola treatment centers from further militant attacks.
However, despite the intermittent violence in the area, WHO continues to push back against the Ebola outbreak in the DRC. The organization reported that over 96,000 people have been vaccinated and those are eligible to receive immunization accept it.
Moreover, strict border screenings have prevented the disease from spreading outside of the affected provinces. No cases of Ebola have crossed international borders.
"Despite the increased frequency of attacks by armed groups, WHO will stay the course and will work with communities to end this outbreak together with the Ministry of Health and partners," added Tedros. "We need redoubled support from the international community, and a commitment to push together to bring this outbreak to an end."
The worst outbreak of Ebola in history happened in West Africa where the diseases killed 11,000 people in 2014.