The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The facts about Congo’s frightening Ebola epidemic.

Health workers in Congo carry a coffin with a baby who might have died of Ebola during the funeral in December. (Goran Tomasevic/REUTERS)

Since last summer, Congo has been in the crosshairs of the second worst outbreak of the Ebola virus disease. As of the end of January, more than 730 cases and 459 deaths have been reported. International public health officials are working to get effective treatments into the conflict-ridden region.

The World Health Organization’s Ebola virus disease website is a clearinghouse for information on the epidemic, from details about its toll to publications about the virus and how the world is working to fight it.

It offers an up-to-date view of the progress of a disease that is shrouded in fear. And for good reason: Highly contagious, Ebola can spread rapidly and be difficult for health officials to contain. In 2014 and 2015, more than 28,000 cases were reported throughout West Africa, and 11,310 people died. The Ebola outbreak in Congo is so serious that the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in November warned that it is possible the deadly virus cannot be brought under control there. Instead, he said, Ebola will have to be viewed as an entrenched disease. An experimental Ebola vaccine is being used in Congo.

On the WHO’s website, you can find more information about the strategic response underway in Congo, including situation reports on deaths and infections and information about the vaccine. It also has background information about how the virus is transmitted, contained and treated, along with valuable information on preparedness and lessons learned from the deadly 2014-2015 outbreak.

Want to dive deeper into this major public health concern? Consider taking the WHO’s free online course about Ebola. Designed for decision-makers, the three-hour course is also a valuable resource for anyone who wants a more in-depth look at the deadly virus and how to protect themselves and others from its spread.

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