What is now being labeled as the world's second-largest Ebola outbreak has now also made history as being the second-deadliest. Sadly, this epidemic has claimed the lives of hundreds of people and 97 of them have been children.
Save the Children is a charity that is supporting the fight against the deadly Ebola virus. According to a press release from the charity, the outbreak was declared in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on August 1. The 97 deaths that have occurred have taken place since the declaration was made.
Of the children who have died from this recent outbreak, 65 of them were younger than five-years-old. The charity fears that the number of deaths may only grow as the number of confirmed cases of Ebola have grown from 20 a week to 40.
"We are at a crossroads," Heather Kerr, Save the Children's country director in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said in a press release on Sunday. "If we don't take urgent steps to contain this, the outbreak might last another six months, if not the whole year."
"It is paramount to convince communities that Ebola is an urgent and real concern," Kerr said. "People have disrupted funerals because they didn't believe the deceased had succumbed to the virus. Aid workers were threatened because it was believed they spread Ebola. We have to scale up our efforts to reach out to the vocal youth and community leaders to build trust and to help us turn this tide. Treating the people who are sick is essential, but stopping Ebola from spreading further is just as important."
The fatality rate for those who have contracted the virus is at nearly 63 percent. In total there have been over 800 cases and 484 confirmed deaths due to the outbreak. While the country is also facing an extreme hunger crisis and is considered an active war zone, the Ebola outbreak has only added to the devastation.
"The DRC is a country suffering from violence and conflict and an extreme hunger crisis -- some 4.6 million children are acutely malnourished," Kerr said. "The main concerns for many people are safety and making sure they have enough to eat. But Ebola has to be a priority too."
Please join us in praying for all those affected by the terrible outbreak and for health and healing for their country. Share your thoughts on this in the comments section of our Facebook page. In other recent news, Tim Tebow's 'perfectly timed" reaction to someone yelling 'Jesus' has gone viral, see the video here!