Sub-Saharan Africa is now the setting for two separate Ebola outbreaks. According to the latest statistics (from August 20th), the West African Ebola outbreak has infected 2,615 people and caused 1,427 deaths (WHO) including 120 health workers (USA Today). These figures relate to the outbreak affecting Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, which we have followed weekly since July.
On August 26th, authorities from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), located in Central Africa southeast of the West Africa outbreak, notified the WHO of an outbreak of the Ebola virus in the country with a total of 24 cases and 13 deaths to date (WHO). Ebola was first discovered in the DRC, then known as Zaire, and Ebola outbreaks have occurred in Central Africa with some frequency over the past 15 years. Because the current DRC cases and their identified contacts have no history of travel or exposure to the emergency in West Africa, the outbreak in the DRC is believed at this time to be a separate, additional outbreak.
The experimental treatment ZMapp has yet to conclusively demonstrate effectiveness in the few patients who have received it (ABC NEWS), and although local governments continue to respond to the outbreaks, international support is greatly needed. The World Health Organization is drafting a coordinated regional strategy to address Ebola in West Africa, and early reports attest that WHO’s plan will require funding upwards of several hundred million dollars (Bloomberg).