Congo's Ebola outbreak will continue for 3-4 months, WHO estimates

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The World Health Organization projects the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Ebola outbreak will continue for several more months and potentially spread to Uganda or Rwanda, according to Reuters.

Both Uganda and Rwanda are prepared to respond if the outbreak crosses their borders. However, neither country has approved the Ebola vaccine yet, which they could use to proactively vaccinate healthcare workers.

The city of Beni in Congo's North Kivu province remains a top concern for the WHO, due to community resistance to response efforts. About two-thirds of Ebola cases have occurred in Beni over the past 30 days, leading authorities to issue a ban on hiding suspected Ebola patients avoiding treatment.

"We anticipate that now we'll be looking at least another three to four months in order to really stem this outbreak, with a strong focus in Beni and surrounding areas," Dr. Peter Salama, WHO deputy director-general of emergency preparedness and response, told Reuters. "I'd say that's the best-case scenario."

Health workers have administered four experimental Ebola treatments to 66 patients. Pending government approval, a clinical trial could start within the next few weeks to pinpoint the most effective therapy, according to Dr. Salama.

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