Ebola Is Back. Here Are the Challenges Ahead

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from TIME Magazine,

An outbreak of Ebola has emerged in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and hundreds could be affected, the World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed. The risk assessment is high at a national level, medium at a regional level and currently low at a global level, said Peter Salama, WHO’s executive director for health emergencies, during a telephone briefing.

Three people have died out of about 20 suspected and confirmed Ebola cases, with the outbreak centered in Bas-Uele, a province in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, on the border of the Central African Republic and close to South Sudan. So far, the aid workers have identified more than 400 contacts of Ebola cases and are attempting to track them down. (Another outbreak of a disease that shares similar features to Ebola, including vomiting and nausea, has appeared several hundred kilometers away from Bas-Uele, but WHO does not believe the two incidents are linked.)

The Bas-Uele province is remote with poorly built roads and virtually no functioning telecommunications, Salama said, making it a difficult place for aid workers to access. Additionally, it has been subject to insecurity and displacement, particularly due to the ongoing conflict in the Central African Republic. The Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group active in central Africa, is believed to have been active in the area.

“We cannot underestimate the logistical and practical challenges associated with this response at a very remote part of the country,” Salama said on the call. “As of now we do not know the full extent of the outbreak, and as we deploy teams over the next few weeks, we’ll begin to understand more and more exactly what we are dealing with.”

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