Why Ebola crisis in DRC is unlike anything before

Tuesday, November 27, 2018
By Paul Martin

Democratic Republic of Congo has seen multiple outbreaks of Ebola, but this time it faces more challenges.

by Azad Essa

It is the worst Ebola outbreak to have struck the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – and the most complex one.

Since August, authorities in the country, together with a host of partners, have been trying to contain a new outbreak of the disease in the eastern North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

As of November 21, there have been 373 suspected cases of Ebola, including 347 confirmed cases. At least 217 people have already died.

There have been 10 outbreaks of Ebola since 1976 in the DRC, which is considered among the most experienced in dealing with the virus.

The situation this time, though, is different.

The North Kivu and Ituri provinces are among the most unstable and densely populated in the country, and subject to some of the highest levels of human mobility in it.

At the same time, there are warnings that a “perfect storm” of insecurity, community resistance about vaccinations and political manipulation threaten the efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

These factors collectively make the latest outbreak, unlike anything the DRC, which is scheduled to hold a crucial presidential election on December 23, has experienced before.

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