Africa

Congo confirms near record new Ebola cases

Thirteen new cases of Ebola have been confirmed in northeastern Congo, as attacks by armed groups hamper international efforts to control the deadly disease.

Democratic Republic of Congo's health ministry says thirteen new cases of Ebola have been confirmed in the northeastern part of the country - one of the highest daily counts since the start of the outbreak in July.

"It's pretty exceptional," health ministry spokeswoman Jessica Ilunga said, commenting on the data published in its daily bulletin on the epidemic.

Attacks by armed groups have hampered international efforts to control the outbreak, the worst in Congo's history, which has infected over 380 people and killed two-thirds of them.

The number of new cases has accelerated in the past month and an emergency committee of World Health Organisation experts in October said the outbreak was likely to worsen significantly unless the response was stepped up.

Treatment, vaccination programmes and safe burials of victims have been disrupted by a surge in violence and abiding local mistrust of health directives.

Last Wednesday, 12 Congolese soldiers were killed alongside seven UNpeacekeepers in clashes with militias near the epicentre of the outbreak.

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