Deep distrust undermines effort to fight Ebola in Congo

ABC News | 7/24/2019 | Staff
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Until his last breath, Salomon Nduhi Kambale insisted he had been poisoned by someone and that was the reason he was vomiting blood. The 30-year-old man wouldn't give community health teams his phone number, and when they found it, he hung up on them.

Health workers were desperate to persuade him to get vaccinated for Ebola after a friend fell ill with the lethal and highly contagious disease.

Days - Nduhi - Widow - Children - Ebola

But within days, Nduhi was dead. His widow and their four young children were given his positive Ebola test result and a chilling warning from a team of health workers: "If you don't accept vaccination, you can prepare to die."

Deep distrust — along with political instability and deadly violence — has severely undermined efforts by public health authorities in Congo to curb the outbreak by tracing and vaccinating those who may have come into contact with infected people.

Health - Experts - Ebola - Vaccine - Multitudes

Health experts agree the experimental Ebola vaccine has saved multitudes in Congo. But after nearly a year and some 171,000 doses given, the epidemic shows few signs of waning. The virus has killed more than 1,700 people and has now arrived in the region's largest city, Goma. The World Health Organization last week declared the outbreak a global health emergency.

During the 2014-16 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, which left more than 11,300 people dead, health workers could only dream of a vaccine with a 97.5 percent effectiveness rate that could improve the odds of survival even in those already infected.

Miracle - Dr - Joanne - Liu - President

"We have it now and it's not the miracle we wanted it to be," said Dr. Joanne Liu, president of Doctors Without Borders. "The fact that we've used so much vaccine, and the epidemic hasn't stopped, that shows us that contact tracing is not great."

WHO says as many as 90 percent of those eligible for vaccination have accepted...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ABC News
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