March 29, 2019

The Democratic Republic of Congo is in the midst of the worst Ebola outbreak the country has ever experienced. Since the outbreak was first identified in August 2018, more than 1,000 people have been infected with the haemorrhagic virus, with 639 deaths as of March 26.


  • Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. 

  • Virus species: The virus family Filoviridae includes three genera: Cuevavirus, Marburgvirus, and Ebolavirus. Within the genus Ebolavirus, five species have been identified: Zaire, Bundibugyo, Sudan, Reston and Tai Forest.

  • Transmission:
    • The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats) and then spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.

    • It is thought that fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural Ebola virus hosts.

    • People can get the virus through sexual contact as well.

  • Health impact: The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.

  • Treatment: Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is as yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralize the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.