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Democratic Republic of the Congo: ECHO Factsheet – The Democratic Republic of Congo – EU Response to the Ebola epidemic (Last updated 07/05/2019)

Source: European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Uganda


In 2018, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) declared its 9th and 10th Ebola outbreaks.

Over 1 570 cases and 1 045 deaths reported since 1 August 2018 in the DRC’s current Ebola outbreak

In 2014-2016, there were 28 600 Ebola cases and 11 300 Ebola-related deaths in West Africa

EU response to the tenth (and current) Ebola outbreak in the DRC: €17.83 million since 2018

EU response to Ebola What is it?

The Ebola virus is a severe and often fatal illness in humans. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads further through human-to-human transmission. Beyond the human suffering and loss of life, the disease has a devastating impact on the security, economies, and healthcare systems of the affected regions. The European Union appointed an Ebola Coordinator in 2014, at the height of the pandemic in West Africa, and has since mobilised all available political, financial, and scientific resources to help Ebola patients and contain the disease.

Why is this important?

When Ebola ravaged previously unaffected countries in West Africa between 2014 and 2016, leaving in its wake a huge death toll and paralysed economies, the world woke up to the potential global threat of the disease. Until then, Ebola had been mostly limited to East and Central Africa, with the number of reported cases never exceeding 500 at each outbreak.

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However, in 2014, the Ebola virus found a new conducive environment in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. It was only two years later that an end could be put to the outbreak, thanks to the combined efforts of the international community. In the meantime, nearly 30 000 cases were reported and over 11 000 lives were lost.

In 2018, Ebola returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where the first ever outbreak of the Ebola virus disease was reported back in 1976. The DRC declared its ninth outbreak in May 2018 in Equateur province, in the west of the country, and its tenth outbreak on 1 August, barely a week after the previous one had come to an end. Despite the intensive response that has been put into place since the outbreak was declared, the disease is still not under control.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the public health risk from Ebola is considered to be "very high" at a national and regional level, given the proximity of the affected area to the borders of South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) considers the risk of the virus reaching the EU to be low.

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