Monday , May 10 2021

As the epidemic of ebola deteriorates in Congo, the United States stays out of the war zone

A health worker carries a four-day-old Ebola suspect at the Border Care Center on November 4 in Butembou, Congo. (John Vessels / AFP / Getti Images)

The US does not plan to relocate staff to combat the growing ebola epidemic in the Congo field due to a worsening of security problems, administration officials said on Wednesday.

The epidemic in the northeastern Congo is taking place in an active war zone and has now become the largest in the country for more than four decades. Attacks on government terrorists and civilians dozens of armed militias complicated the work of the Ebola reaction teams, who often had to suspend a key job monitoring of objects and isolation of people infected with deadly virus. Violence has escalated in recent weeks, including attacks armed groups this weekend near the operational center in Benin, an urban epicenter in the province of North Kivu.

No US citizen works in the outbreak zone, but staff from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Agency for International Development are located in the capital, Kinshasa, about 1,000 miles away. Additional staff works in neighboring countries. Whether staff is deployed at the heart of an outbreak is a continuous debate within the administration.

A fewEbola experts from the CDC were withdrawn from Bena in late August after the attack armed group according to the military location of the Congo, on the road to which the team was traveling, says the official official of the US Embassy in Congo. No US government personnel or others responsible for Ebola were targeted or in the immediate area of ​​the attack.

"Ensuring the security of our staff is our highest priority," one administration official said during a briefing on Wednesday. He spoke under the condition of anonymity because of the rules set by the White House. Washington is continuously monitoring the security situation, but now, "it's just too dangerous," he said.

For those security reasons, the attacks in 2012 in Benghazi, Libya, which killed the US ambassador and three other Americans, say public health experts who were familiar with the discussions about the deployment of staff in the United States who spoke on condition that they Anonymity is open.

The administration official declined to say whether the sending of CDC experts under the protection of US military personnel was considered. "I will not rule or exclude anything," he said. But he noted that during the epidemic of West Africa Ebola for 2014 and 2014 that killed more than 11,000 people, the US military provided only logistical support.

After CDC Director Robert Redfield raised the possibility last week that the epidemic had so dramatically worsened that it might not be under control, US officials have tried to diminish the scenario. They have unequivocally pointed out that the administration's aim is to stop the outbreak.

"Ebola's response is a priority for the US government," said Tim Ziemer, a senior USAID official at another briefing, hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Ziemer led global health security at the National Security Council, but in May he left the post after the global health supervisory team he was overseeing was disbanded under the reorganization of John Bolton National Security Adviser.

One of the biggest problems in controlling any epidemic, especially these, is the inability of the respondent to effectively identify and monitor all contacts with patients in Ebola. Without this ability, the disease continues to spread. Especially worrying in this outbreak is that estimated 60 to 80 percent of new confirmed cases have no known links to previous cases, making it practically impossible to postpone patients to monitor the infection and stop transmission.

"This shows that your systems do not work, you do not manage to strengthen this epidemic," J said. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president of CSIS.

At a CSIS informative meeting, the head of the World Health Organization's Emergency Department, Geneva, said the epidemic is expected to last an additional six months, at best. Peter Salama also said that informal health clinics, which are unregulated and often held by traditional healers, may have spread the virus in Benny as mothers, and children have requested help in cases of Ebola that have been diagnosed incorrectly as malaria, which has similar early symptoms.

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