Why the Ebola outbreak in DRC has spun out of control


An Ebola epidemic that experts are calling “exceptionally dangerous” is unfolding in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

So far, there have been more than 420 cases and 240 deaths, which makes it the largest outbreak of Ebola since the 2014-2016 West Africa outbreak, which killed 11,000. It’s also the second-largest Ebola outbreak on record.

Humans have tangled with the Ebola virus for centuries with deadly results. But until five months ago, Ebola had never emerged in an active war zone.

On August 1, the World Health Organization declared an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The virus had started spreading in cities in North Kivu, an unstable province in the Central African country, where fighting among multiple rebel and militia groups has repeatedly interrupted the painstaking work of health workers who came to respond to the outbreak.

Even though Ebola responders have never had so many tools at their disposal to fight the virus — experimental vaccines and treatments that have shown promise — the incidence of the disease has more than doubled since September. Even worse, many of the newly diagnosed cases cannot be linked to other known cases. That means there are still people spreading the disease whom health officials have not yet identified.

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Source: Vox