What’s happening with the response to the Ebola epidemic in DRC?
The Ebola epidemic in east Democratic Republic of Congo is still not contained. More than 1,600 deaths from the Ebola virus have been reported since the outbreak was first declared on August 1, 2018, and, during the first seven months of the epidemic (August 2018 to March 2019), over 1,000 confirmed and probable cases were declared. Between March and June 2019, this number doubled, with 1,000 new cases in what’s a short period of time. The end of April was the peak, with more than 120 cases a week. There’s still a huge amount of new cases, between 75 and 100 every week. In a context like this, it’s extremely difficult to accurately track the epidemic’s chains of transmission.
During the outbreak in 2014, all that could be done was to isolate patients and administer them largely ineffective drugs. With the vaccines and experimental drugs available to us in 2019, we’re now able to offer people the chance to protect themselves individually as well as access to promising treatments.
According to the information provided after the epidemic broke out, most confirmed cases’ personal contacts were vaccinated and then monitored by the Ministry of Health’s teams. Very probably, this helped contain the epidemic for a while. It’s the first time vaccination has been implemented on such a large scale, which is an extremely positive development.