DRC: 15 elderly people killed by unknown disease in the West

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Fifteen people, ranging in age from 60 to 80, died in February after contracting an unidentified disease in a western province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, official sources said Monday.

“This unidentified disease has been raging in the Kasongo-Lunda health zone for a month. Currently, we have recorded 15 deaths, all of them elderly, ”Jean-Marie Peti-Peti, governor of Kwango province (West), told AFP.

“The patient begins by having headaches, then pains everywhere, fever, then respiratory complications”, before dying, explained Mr. Peti-Peti, who took stock of this unknown disease.

“The provincial Minister of Health, the chief doctor of the Kasongo-Lunda health zone as well as epidemiologists from Kinshasa are hard at work. They have already taken samples to send to the INRB (National Institute for Biomedical Research) ”in order to identify this disease, he added.

Two epidemics, COVID-19 and Chikungunya, are reported in this Angolan border city, located 250 km south-east of Kinshasa and lacking viable health infrastructure.

The health staff of this city complains that they do not receive regular salaries when access to medical care is made difficult because of its high cost in relation to the standard of living of the population, estimated at more than 1.5 million inhabitants, mainly farmers with very low incomes.