Thursday, November 29, 2018

Ebola outbreak in Congo now the 2nd biggest in history.

An aid worker in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Reuters. 

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is now the 2nd largest outbreak of the virus in history. Reuters. Only the 2013-2016 outbreak in West Africa, which had 28,000 confirmed cases, has outpaced the current outbreak. There are 426 confirmed and probable cases in Congo. At least 245 people have died in the outbreak. International response has been complicated due to attacks on aid workers by local jihadist forces. Ebola response has improved since the 2013 outbreak and a vaccine has been developed but aid workers are unable to respond to this crisis. 

My Comment:
A quick update on this story as this is a major milestone. I don't believe that this outbreak will be as bad as the 2013 one but it's also very clear that the outbreak is nowhere near being contained. With hundreds dead and almost 500 people infected, it's the 2nd worst outbreak of Ebola ever. 

Can things get worse? Of course they can. All it takes is one person infected with the virus that decides to flee from the outbreak or from the violence from the local jihadists and it could spread to other cities or even other countries. 

How likely is that? Not very. The same violence and disorder that is allowing the outbreak to spiral out of control locally is preventing its spread. People are having a tough time fleeing the area and with aid workers unable to reach the victims they have zero chance of getting infected and bringing the virus back to their home countries. Plus with vaccines and more experience with treatment, any outbreak that occurs outside of the warzone should be easier to treat. 

Still, the situation in Congo is worth monitoring. Though I don't think that this outbreak will kill as many people as the 2013 outbreak, it could spread and it will likely devastate Beni and other effected towns and villages. 11,000 people died in that outbreak but I don't see that many deaths in this outbreak. 

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