World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Doctor Tedros Adhanom said Sunday there has been another reported case of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
As of Sunday, a total of 39 Ebola cases have been reported in the DRC in the past five weeks, including 18 deaths, according to the WHO.
The DRC is now in its ninth Ebola outbreak since 1976. Why does the Ebola virus keep returning to the DRC? Ebola is a highly infectious disease spread through contact with even small amounts of bodily fluid of an infected person. Its early flu-like symptoms are not always easy to detect.
Furthermore, fruit bats are considered to be the main host of the disease, some analysts say, but it is also introduced into humans through close contact with the blood, organs or other bodily fluids of other infected animals, such as gorillas, antelope and porcupines.
The DRC’s deforestation may also facilitate the spread of the Ebola virus since virus-infected fruit bats have to look for new living spaces, thus increasing the possibility of contact with humans. Some experts assume the DRC’s stricter epidemiological surveillance and better disease response system compared to other African countries, including Gabon and the Republic of Congo, are other reasons why the DRC has had so many reported cases of Ebola.