May 3 (UPI) -- The death toll from an Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo surpassed 1,000 this week, the country's health officials said.
In a statement released Thursday, the DRC Health Ministry said there have been 1,529 cases of the disease, all but 66 confirmed, with 1,008 deaths since last summer. The mortality rate is about 66 percent.
Officials reported 19 new cases this week and 14 new deaths in the world's second-largest Ebola outbreak.
Most cases have been recorded in the towns of Katwa and Beni in North Kivu province and the town of Mandima in Ituri province also has been hard hit.
On Tuesday, the World Health Organization said support to control the Ebola outbreak has lagged and maintaining security in the conflict-prone area has been difficult. Earlier this month, armed men killed WHO epidemiologist Dr. Richard Mouzoko in an attack in Butembo.
"We need the security situation to be under control for [health workers] and for the local people," said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa. "During our mission, we had fruitful discussions with the partners who provide security cover to see what more could be done."
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for an increase in support from the international community to make up for a "sizable funding gap."
In March, the International Rescue Committee warned the outbreak could last another six months to a year.