Congo bans residents from harboring suspected Ebola patients

The Democratic Republic of the Congo issued a decree to protect health workers from violence and ban residents from hiding suspected Ebola patients, according to Reuters.

Mistrust among Congo residents and continued attacks on healthcare workers have disrupted Ebola treatment and vaccination efforts in the city of Beni, Mayor Jean Edmond Nyoni Bwanakawa told Reuters Oct. 10. The Congo's Health Ministry implemented a decree prohibiting Beni residents from harboring Ebola patients. Those who do not follow the ban could face a jail term of up to three months.

Healthcare professionals who do not refer suspected Ebola patients to treatment centers will see their own centers shut down. In addition, Congo officials are requiring families of victims to show a death certificate to obtain a burial permit. They will also provide health workers with police protection during burials.

Properly burying Ebola victims is a critical part of controlling Ebola's spread. Two Red Cross volunteers were attacked by villagers Oct. 2 while helping with a burial, which temporarily suspended some burials in the area.

There are currently 142 confirmed Ebola cases and 35 probable infections linked to the outbreak, which started Aug. 1 and has resulted in 113 deaths.. Eleven cases are still under investigation.

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