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WHO warns of ‘perfect storm’ for Ebola in eastern Congo

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The emergencies chief for the World Health Organization says insecurity, public defiance about vaccinations and political jockeying could create a “perfect storm” leading Congo’s latest Ebola outbreak to spread.

Dr. Peter Salama says the response is at a “critical juncture” in eastern North Kivu province, where the outbreak was declared nearly two months ago. Health officials have counted 150 confirmed and probable cases, including over 100 deaths.

He told reporters Tuesday that overall trends in the Ebola response have been positive. But insecurity and deadly violence caused by armed militia groups, public fears about treatment options and politicians fanning those fears ahead of elections have presented challenges.

Salama said such factors “may be coming together over the next weeks to months to create a potential perfect storm.”

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