The Ebola virus is on the rise in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the reason for part of that is because people don’t believe the virus is real.
Since August, more than 600 people in the eastern part of the Congo have succumbed to the disease, and hundreds more are currently infected – the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history, according to Voice of America. Even still, health experts say a new study proves what they had feared all along: many Congo citizens think the disease is made up as a scare tactic by the government that is all based on money and power, The Inquisitr reports.
According to VOA, a study conducted in September and published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal showed that one in four Congo residents said they didn’t believe Ebola was real or a legitimate threat. Nearly half also said that the disease was fabricated.
The skepticism and misinformation is believed to have been caused by the country’s economic and political insecurity, VOA reports. Many Congo citizens don’t trust their government and believe Ebola to be concocted as a public health threat to give government leaders a political and financial hand over its residents.
Tariq Riebl works with the International Rescue Committee in eastern Congo. He said he’s seen the skepticism first hand and that the study confirms it. To combat the virus, Riebl said, educating the residents is paramount.
Only time will tell if tactics to deploy trained volunteers to help educate the masses will prove fruitful.
For those suffering with Ebola, separating them from the public is vital in containing the disease. Ebola is spread through body fluids but if those who have the disease don’t believe in it, it makes it impossible to convince them to get treated and to isolate themselves from others.
Riebl added to Learning English: “It doesn’t matter if you have all the treatment options available because no one is ever arriving to take advantage of that.”