Business Telegraph/Wall Street Journal
The world has never been so prepared for an Ebola outbreak, but the latest emergence of the virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s conflict-ridden east is proving the most dangerous in years.
Seventy-two out of 111 patients who have been infected with the hemorrhagic fever have died, making this outbreak the deadliest in more than a decade in Congo, where the disease was first diagnosed in 1976 and named after the nearby Ebola River.
While the current death toll is far off the 11,300 people who perished when Ebola spread through West Africa from 2014 to 2016, international health officials worry about containing the virus in an area dense with armed militias and close to the porous border with Uganda.
“This outbreak is still in the escalation phase,” said Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has staff working to stem the outbreak in Congo, neighboring countries and the Geneva headquarters of the World Health Organization. “The key is identifying (patients’) contacts and getting people vaccinated.”
Since 2014, international health groups, governments and pharmaceutical companies have raced to strengthen their defenses against Ebola. Congo has approved the use of an experimental vaccine made by U.S.-based Merck & Co., which helped snuff out an outbreak in northwestern Congo last month.
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