The epidemic of Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the second largest in history after the 2014 West African epidemic. A storm of harmful factors complicates this event: armed conflict, political instability and mass displacement. The WHO, the DRC government and non-governmental organizations (NGO) partners have shown remarkable leadership but are hard-hit. The outbreak remains far from controlled and risks a long-term epidemic with regional, perhaps global consequences.
EF's fear has been prescient. Cases of Ebola virus have more than tripled with an extended geographical footprint in 18 health areas.
Governments, including the United States, have withdrawn staff fearing their security.
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This situation undergoes vital interventions, such as contact studies, isolation and safe burials. The WHO may need to switch from ring vaccination to vaccination based on geographical location, but it will require far more doses if done effectively. limited vaccine supplies therefore concern.
Thousands of Congolese cross borders daily for trade, to visit family or for funeral. Roads to Kigali and Kampala are well traveled and could facilitate Ebola transfer to large population centers. Uganda and Rwanda have fairly strong surveillance systems and are preparing for cross-border diversification. Uganda vaccinated key health professionals and is reportedly screening all travelers at Entebbe Airport.
But things could miss at the border. Meanwhile, South Sudan is among the world's most fragile states. An expanding epidemic of the Ebola viral disease can destabilize the region and disrupt the carefree peace in South Sudan, where violence continues and famine is predicted.