BENI: An outbreak of Ebola in eastern DR Congo has killed 67 people this month, authorities said today, rolling out a battery of new drugs to tackle the virus, in exchange for concerns about a rebel-surrounded area.
A total of 105 cases have been reported since the Ebola flare-up began on 1 August in Mangina in the North Kivu province, according to the Ministry of Health, of which 77 have been confirmed by laboratory tests.
It states that 11 people have recovered from the virus and 67 people have died.
Health minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga traveled to Mangina on Thursday and saw two patients being discharged after being treated with a new prototype treatment called mAb114.
"These two people are among the first 10 patients to receive the therapeutic molecule mAb114," the ministry said in a statement.
Developed in the United States, the prototype medicine is the first therapeutic drug used in an active Ebola epidemic in the DRC.
Earlier this week, the Department of Health said that four other experimental drugs had been approved for the treatment of infected patients.
Yesterday the World Health Organization warned that signs that the virus had spread to the city of Oicha in the province of North Kivu could frustrate the efforts to contain the virus.
Although Oicha himself is not under rebel control, Peter Salama, chief of the BHV response, said that the city is completely surrounded by territory held by a feared Ugandan rebellious group known as Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
Large numbers of civilians have been killed by unrest around Oicha, while aid workers, priests and government employers are currently being held hostage by insurgents.
The current outbreak is the 10th to hit the DRC since 1976, when Ebola was first identified and named after a river in the north of the country.