Ebola spreads to remote Congo territory

Aug. 19, 2019

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have confirmed a new case of Ebola in the remote, militia-controlled territory of Walikale — hundreds of kilometers away from where previous cases have occurred.

Walikale is controlled almost entirely by a Mai Mai ethnic militia. The area is surrounded by forest and is difficult to access because of poor roads.The widening geographic spread of the virus, and its presence in yet another zone under the control of armed groups, raises the risk of it spreading out of control, even while the tools to rein it in are better than ever.

New clinical trials have shown promise of a 90 percent survival rate. The two drugs, made by Regeneron, are monoclonal antibodies developed using antibodies harvested from Ebola survivors. The treatments outperformed two other drugs —Gilead’s Remdisivir and Mapp Biopharmaceutical’s ZMapp — in a recent clinical trial being conducted in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Despite the media attention ebola has gotten, Doctors Without Borders says measles has killed 2,758 people in the DR Congo since January — more than the Ebola epidemic in a year. The organization has called for a massive mobilization of funds and response organizations to increase vaccination.

Read the Reuters coverage