The Ministry of Health (MoH) of the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) on August 1st 2018.

This is the second Ebola outbreak in the DRC this year and it is nearly twice as deadly. The town of Mangina, Mabalako Health Zone, and North Kivu Province has discovered 51 confirmed cases, 27 probable cases and 44 deaths as of August 15th 2018. World Health Organization officials are concerned about Ebola reaching the refugee camps across the border where the virus could spread rapidly.

The Ministry of Health quickly initiated responses in North Kivu and Ituri provinces with support from WHO and partners. Another great concern are the eight new confirmed cases among health workers. Health workers encounter hundreds of people every day, increasing the risk of spreading the virus. The World Health Organization is working to increase awareness of Ebola among healthcare and other frontline workers in order to strengthen infection prevention.

Figure 1. Confirmed and probable Ebola virus disease cases by health zone in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 15 August 2018

The Ebola outbreak is not the only challenge this region faces. The Democratic Republic of Congo has been struggling with violence, poverty, and high malnutrition rates. In December 2017, the country had 3.2 million people in urgent need of food. Hunger causes more than malnutrition, the situation forces people into prostitution and increases the risk of sexual violence according to Jibidar, the head of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) operations in the DRC.

This is the tenth time Ebola has touched the DRC since 1976. The country is experiencing several epidemics and a long-term humanitarian crisis. Access to health care is one of the first steps to break the cycle of poverty. The region is an active conflict zone and it will take a long time to contain the outbreak.

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