Democratic Republic of Congo is racing to contain an outbreak of the disease
Democratic Republic of Congo is racing to contain an outbreak of the disease which spreads through contact with infected bodily fluids.
The two patients slipped out of an isolation ward at the hospital on Monday night.
Mr Cabrol told a news briefing in Geneva on return from the affected region: “The escape was organised by the families, with six motorcycles as the patients were very ill and couldn’t walk.
“They were taken to a prayer room with 50 people to pray. They were found at two in the morning, one of them dead and one was dying.
“So that’s 50-60 contacts right there. The patients were in the active phase of the disease, vomiting.”
Many sufferers are reluctant to accept medical treatment, and others unwilling to take vaccines, believing the virus in the work of evil spirits.
Instead some locals are turning to preachers to rid them of evil spirits, further hampering the efforts of health workers battling to top the spread of the deadly illness.
The World Health Organisation yesterday said the world is on an “epidemiological knife edge” as they struggle to contain the infection.
Both patients were vomiting and infectious and died hours after the prayer session
The rare disease causes fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.
On average it kills one in two infected people but early detection and rehydration improves chances of survival.
It is also thought the consumption of bush meat – which includes monkeys and apes, can spread the virus.
It is the Congo’s ninth outbreak since the disease emerged in 1976 and follows a massive outbreak that spun out of control in West Africa form 2014-2016, when more than 11,300 people died in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Health workers this week began a campaign with an experimental vaccine to protect medical staff.