1 killed in attack on Congo hospital at Ebola epicenter

April 19, 2019 - 12:52 pm

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The World Health Organization's director-general said Friday "a dear colleague" was killed during an attack on a hospital at the epicenter of a deadly Ebola outbreak.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a Twitter post that "some people" are injured after the attack in Butembo.

"We are outraged," he said.

The WHO staffer killed was not immediately identified.

Congo's health ministry confirmed the assault on the clinic of the Catholic University of Graben. It was not immediately clear who carried it out.

The response to what has become the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history has been hampered by a series of deadly attacks on Ebola health centers in Butembo and elsewhere. Each has disrupted care and vaccination efforts, leading to a rise in new cases.

Dozens of rebel groups are active in eastern Congo. There also has been some community resistance to Ebola containment efforts in a traumatized, wary region that had never faced an outbreak of the virus before.

Health Minister Dr. Oly Ilunga said in a tweet that local and international health workers are courageously combating the virus, "sometimes at the cost of their lives."

Since the outbreak was declared in August, there have been more than 1,300 confirmed and probable cases, including 843 deaths, the health ministry said Thursday.

More than 102,000 people have received an experimental but effective Ebola vaccine.

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