Acting Head of Department
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Ebola is back, but that doesn’t mean that the world should panic.
A little more than a year ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the West African Ebola outbreak, which killed more than 11,000 people in the largest outbreak of the disease ever, was officially over. On May 11th, WHO announced that the Democratic Republic of Congo had identified 9 suspected cases of Ebola over the past three weeks. Three people had already died, and laboratory testing has confirmed that at least one of the cases has tested positive for the Zaire subtype of the Ebola virus.
This is the first confirmed Ebola outbreak since the disease swept through Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. This also means that it’s the first opportunity for the international community to see whether it has learned anything from its past missteps. WHO came under widespread and massive criticism for its failure to respond to the West African outbreak in a timely fashion, and it pledged that it would change its processes to do better in the future. Sadly, WHO now has a chance to put its promises into action.
Where is this outbreak happening?
All 9 cases so far are in Bas-Uele Province in northern DRC. It’s the part in the orangish-brown on the map below.
Bas-Uele borders Central African Republic and is pretty close to South Sudan. Does that mean this outbreak will cross borders, too?
First, congratulations on knowing your African geography. That’s not exactly a strong suit among many people, and that led to some truly baffling responses to the last outbreak—like the Brazilian government cancelling a visit to Namibia in 2014 because of Ebola. (For the record, the distance between Windhoek and Conakry is about the same as the distance is about the same as the distance between New York and Dublin.)
More importantly, the outbreak is happening in an area of the province that is difficult to access. That could make it difficult to get additional supplies to the region, but it also makes it far less likely that the disease will spread far.
To read the entire article by Jeremy Youde, visit the Duck Of Minerva website.