Aid agencies said on Thursday that the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo could be tipping into a wider crisis as the number of new cases spiked and violence grounded health workers for the second time.
The number of new cases per day has more than doubled since September, partly because worsening security is hampering the response, said the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
Four civilians were killed in another attack near Beni on Tuesday, according to the United Nations. The IRC again suspended programmes on Wednesday, resuming on Thursday afternoon but only within Beni city limits, a spokeswoman said.
"The current spike in Ebola cases and deaths is extremely worrying," said Michelle Gayer, IRC's senior director of emergency health.
"It's likely that the forced suspension in programming due to insecurity and community resistance in and around Beni are major factors in this," she said.
The region has been a tinderbox of armed rebellion and ethnic killing since two civil wars in the late 1990s.
Community resistance has also caused violence, with angry villagers attacking Red Cross volunteers on several occasions and preventing a burial last week.
"We are concerned that (violence) is contributing to the rise in Ebola cases in Beni and that this could be the tipping point for an accelerated spread of the disease," Red Cross spokesman Euloge Ishimwe told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The outbreak is expected to last at least another three or four months but if insecurity continues there could be "a much larger wave building," said Peter Salama, emergency response chief of the World Health Organization, on Thursday.
(With inputs from agencies.)