ebola crisis
September 22, 2019

The World Health Organization in a statement Saturday accused Tanzania of withholding information about suspected Ebola cases in the country.

The U.N. agency was made aware of the suspected cases in Tanzania earlier this month, but WHO was then prevented from participating in blood samples testing. The Tanzania government then reportedly informed the organization that Ebola had been ruled out, although they did not offer any alternative diagnoses.

WHO's statement referred to a 34-year-old doctor studying in central Uganda who returned to Tanzania with Ebola-like symptoms before dying in Dar es Salaam, the country's capital, earlier in September. The illness was reportedly contagious and numerous contacts became ill. Unofficial reports led WHO to believe that the woman had, in fact, tested positive for Ebola.

Tanzania has never reported a case of Ebola, The Washington Post reports, noting that tourism is a major driver in the nation's economy, so fears that the presence of the disease could lead to trip cancellations may exist.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has previously urged Tanzania to "comply with its obligation under the International Health Regulations" and allow for independent verification of the circumstances surrounding the doctor's death. The current Ebola outbreak began in August 2018. While new cases have occurred rapidly, they have mostly remained confined to provinces in eastern Congo. Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

July 20, 2019

The 138th health care worker in the Democratic Republic of Congo was infected during the country's current Ebola outbreak, which was recently declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization.

Helen Branswell of Stat News reports that infections of health care workers are generally common at the start of an outbreak before people realize that the disease is spreading, but the recent "steady stream" of infections is puzzling.

That's because the workers are aware they are at risk of infection and many have been vaccinated, including the worker who was recently infected. In short, Branswell doesn't "think this should be happening."

Branswell went on to write that the disease is "not relenting," citing that there have only been three days in July when the Ebola case increase was in the single digits. In total, since the beginning of the epidemic last August there have been over 2,400 confirmed cases, and over 1,600 confirmed deaths. Tim O'Donnell

July 15, 2019

The Congolese Health Ministry confirmed on Sunday that the Ebola virus has spread to the city of Goma, home to more than one million people.

The patient is a pastor who tested positive after being screened at a health center, BBC News reports. He arrived in Goma via bus from Butembo, about 125 miles away, where he met with people who have Ebola. Officials said the bus driver and 18 passengers will receive vaccinations on Monday. "Due to the speed with which the patient has been identified and isolated, as well as the identification of all passengers from Butembo, the risk of spreading to the rest of the city of Goma remains low," the health ministry said in a statement.

Since the Ebola outbreak began in the eastern part of the country last August, more than 1,600 people have died. Goma has prepared for an Ebola outbreak, with 3,000 health workers getting vaccinated against the virus last fall. The Ebola virus begins with muscle pain and fever, and can ultimately lead to kidney and liver failure and internal and external bleeding. It spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids. Catherine Garcia

May 3, 2019

The death toll from an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo reached 994 on Friday, the World Health Organization reported. The epidemic is expected to exceed 1,000 deaths by the end of the day, marking a grim milestone since the virus began spreading last summer, reports Reuters.

The WHO is working to expand vaccinations by using an unlicensed vaccine as another "tool in the toolbox," said Michael Ryan, director of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme. "We are anticipating a scenario of continued intense transmission." There were 27 new Ebola cases confirmed in the DRC on Sunday alone, a new single-day high, and 1,429 confirmed cases in total, reports CNN. The epidemic is the second deadliest in history, and has been exacerbated by violence in the country. Summer Meza

See More Speed Reads