DAKAR, Senegal — One of four people interviewed in eastern Congo last year believed Ebola wasn’t real, according to a new study, underscoring the enormous challenges health care workers are facing in what has become the second-deadliest outbreak in history.
The survey released late Wednesday found that a deep mistrust of the Ebola response resulted in those people being 15 times less likely to seek medical treatment at an Ebola health center, according to the study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.
The study was based on interviews conducted last September, about a month after the outbreak began. It comes as the number of probable and confirmed cases has exceeded 1,000. At least 639 people have died from Ebola since August, according to the World Health Organization.
This is the first time the region has experienced an Ebola outbreak.
Researchers said their study showed more precisely how individuals’ misinformed views about Ebola were undermining the response and helping to spread the deadly virus.