Risk of Ebola's Spread From Congo Now 'Very High'

Temperature taking at Africa school

Temperature taking at Africa school

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is expected to last another three to four months and could spread at any time to Uganda or Rwanda.

In a statement on Thursday, the International Rescue Committee says it is "alarmed" that there were 33 new cases between October 1 and Tuesday, versus 41 cases during all of September. The steps include making it illegal to harbor a suspected Ebola patient, using security forces to monitor and implement safe burials, requiring families to show official death certificates before obtaining a burial certificate, and obligating all health professionals (including traditional healers) to report suspected cases to Ebola treatment centers.Officials said the new decree comes after a month of attacks and acts of resistance to response efforts in Beni and the surrounding areas. With multiple armed groups active in the region, health officials have said they are effectively operating in a war zone.

Earlier this week, the World Health Organisation noted that all of the health workers who have caught Ebola in this epidemic have been infected outside of hospitals or clinics, meaning that the virus is spreading in the community.

According to the ministry, more than 15,000 people have now been vaccinated against the virus, it said.

The WHO cited transport links and population movements as potential risk factors, while stressing that the global risk remained low. The spread of the virus to "red zones", where the threat of armed groups makes health efforts nearly impossible, is a major concern.