Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The latest outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed over 300 people, the country's health ministry said.
In the country's northern province of North Kivu, 552 Ebola cases have been reported, with 494 confirmed, the ministry said on Tuesday. Of the 319 who have died from the virus, 271 are confirmed. Cases have been reported in neighboring Ituri province, which borders Uganda and South Sudan, as well.
In a progress statement issued Dec. 13, the World Health organization said that "non-engagement from communities and conflict continue to hamper response activities that efforts to contain the outbreak." For years, the area has been the site of ethnic and rebel violence, and the health ministry said over 1 million refugees from the area could be spreading the virus.
A control trial to evaluate the effectiveness of Ebola treatment drugs began in DRC "health zones" in November. The virus causes fever, headache and hemorrhaging, and typically kills about half those infected. The current outbreak is the DRC's second in 2018 and 10th since 1976.