By Vatican News
This week marks one year since the outbreak of the latest Ebola virus epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Considered the second worst Ebola epidemic in history, the virus has already killed over 1,700 people in DR Congo alone.
According to a UNICEF report published this week, “there is an increasingly significant risk of Ebola spreading across porous borders” into neighbouring South Sudan.
The health system in this war-weakened nation is already under stress, with many facilities damaged or destroyed by the 5-year conflict. Which is why the United Nations children’s agency is working with the Government of South Sudan and other partners, spreading prevention messages and engaging communities in how to protect themselves against the disease.
UNICEF believes that active community involvement is the key to preventing the spread of the Ebola virus.
The communities most at risk are along the borders between the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and South Sudan.
Trained personnel visit door-to-door, organize village meetings, and involve local and religious leaders. Their aim is to mobilize and inform communities about the disease, and to communicate crucial messages of prevention, protection, and control.
Ebola is considered one of the world’s most notorious and lethal diseases. It has an incubation period of from 2 to 21 days, during which time it can go undetected.
If not treated immediately the mortality rate is as high as 90%.