BRUSSELS – The European Union has allocated an additional 7.2 million euros ($8.3 million) to intensify the fight against the Ebola virus which was on the rise in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the European Commission said Monday.
The EU had already invested 5.63 million euros in the struggle to control the Ebola outbreak in the DRC, bringing the total EU response package to 12.83 million euros.
“We need to win the fight against the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo which has claimed, so far, over 150 lives,” the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, said in a statement. “Overall the EU support includes technical expertise, humanitarian air service, research funding and humanitarian assistance.”
“We are working closely with the World Health Organization and the national authorities to fight the disease. We are not letting our guard down and we will continue our support for as long as it takes,” Stylianides added.
An Ebola outbreak was declared on Aug. 1 in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri.
The outbreak has been difficult to manage due to the ongoing conflict in the region which has complicated the distribution of aid in areas where there have been clashes between government troops and several armed rebels groups.
The disease, which is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of infected people or animals, is widely feared for its mortality rate of up to 90 percent and for causing heavy internal and external bleeding, as the virus severely damages blood vessels.
Early symptoms include sudden high fever, intense weakness and muscle pain, headaches and a sore throat, as well as vomiting.