Congo rebels hamper ebola efforts

This item appears on page 17 of the February 2019 issue.

Late on the night of Dec. 6, rebel militia in the Democratic Republic of the Congo killed at least 18 civilians in two separate attacks near the eastern city of Beni, which lies in the midst of the region currently experiencing an outbreak of ebola. Rebels have attacked Congolese military and medical staff since the beginning of the outbreak on Aug. 1, 2018, causing difficulties in treating patients and preventing the disease.

The World Health Organization reported on Dec. 27 that there have been 543 confirmed cases of ebola in the D.R. Congo, of which there have been 309 deaths and another 48 suspected deaths. More than 40,000 Congolese have received the ebola vaccine, the largest number of recipients since the vaccine was first trialed in 2015.

Ebola is a viral disease that is spread through contact with bodily fluids. It causes high fevers and internal hemorrhaging. There is no cure once infected. The current outbreak has had a mortality rate of 56.9%.