UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 5 — The Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has prompted the United Nations and its humanitarian partners to step up preparations on Monday for the virus spreading into neighboring South Sudan.
The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated 2 million U.S. dollars to support critical Ebola preparedness activities to protect an estimated 440,000 people in high-risk areas of South Sudan,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN chief.
“Although there have been no cases confirmed in South Sudan, the World Health Organization (WHO) says the country is at ‘very high-risk’ due to its proximity to DRC,” he said. “The CERF funds will help to strengthen surveillance, build case management capabilities, enhance laboratory services and increase infection control and prevention.”
As of Saturday, the WHO said there were 774 confirmed cases, including 54 cases that had not been officially confirmed but were regarded as probable since hemorrhagic fever outbreak was confirmed last August. Of those, there were 427 deaths, including 54 probable victims.
Last month, South Sudan aided by the United Nations and its humanitarian partners began vaccinating health workers and other frontline defense individuals against the frequently deadly disease, WHO said.