DRC Ebola Outbreak Grows Amid Concerns Over Election Anxiety, Misinformation

CIDRAP News: DRC Ebola total climbs to 644 led by spike in Katwa cases
“In daily updates [since Thursday], the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) health ministry reported 19 more Ebola cases in five locations, though most were from Katwa, one of the latest outbreak hot spots. In other Ebola developments, an American health worker who may have been exposed to Ebola in the DRC was released from monitoring after remaining symptom-free, and another security incident was reported, affecting responders working in Ituri province…” (Schnirring, 1/14).

Reuters: Public mistrust after Congo election raises Ebola epidemic anxiety
“Global health teams battling the world’s second largest Ebola epidemic in Democratic Republic of Congo fear an election dispute may deepen public mistrust and allow the epidemic to run out of control. … ‘When you have political instability, public health always suffers,’ said Jeremy Farrar, an infectious disease expert who recently visited east Congo with a World Health Organization leadership team. Without public trust, he said, the Congo epidemic could kill many hundreds more people…” (Kelland, 1/14).

Science: Fighting Ebola is hard. In Congo, fake news makes it harder
“The Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is providing a natural experiment in fighting fake news. Occurring in a conflict zone, amid a controversial presidential election, the epidemic has proved to be fertile ground for conspiracy theories and political manipulation, which can hamper efforts to treat patients and fight the virus’s spread. Public health workers have mounted an unprecedented effort to counter misinformation, saying the success or failure of the Ebola response may pivot on who controls the narrative…” (Spinney, 1/14).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from The Express, The Hill, VOA News, and Xinhua News.

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