Since the beginning of the year, more than 40 per cent of new cases are people who died of Ebola in the communities. At the epicenter of the epidemic, in Katwa and Butembo, 43 per cent of patients in the last three weeks were still being infected without known links to other cases.
The response is being compounded by mistrust from the community who resent the influx of both national and international responders. There are also high levels of movement both inside and outside the country with experts fearing the spread of the disease beyond DRC's borders.
The epidemic has been highly challenging to contain because it is occurring in what is effectively a war zone. Progress has been slow, with small gains generally followed by setbacks that have occurred when violence has broken out in the affected provinces of North Kivu and Ituri.
After the attack, the health ministry said 32 of the 38 people being treated for suspected cases had fled. Eight of the 12 patients with confirmed cases had remained in their beds, leaving four unaccounted for.
Some weeks ago, as cases started erupting around two towns, Katwa and Butembo, the investigators found that patient after patient had something else in common: They had all recently visited a health clinic for treatment for some other disease.
When the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo declared an Ebola outbreak in the country’s Équateur Province on 8 May 2018, national and international offers for support and assistance came pouring in. Managing all these partners becomes a challenge in itself. WHO has increasingly been using one tool to streamline the response: a Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC).
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has teamed up with the U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to collect, analyze and implement new strategies in "real time" to tackle the major concerns of people faced with the disease.
Historically, 60–70 percent of patients infected with Ebola virus in central African countries have died.
With children accounting for 30 percent of the confirmed and probable Ebola cases, UNICEF scales up its response to halt spread of the disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) was quick in its response to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but still needs to work on staffing, security, and coordination, according to the latest evaluation of its health emergencies work.