An Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo intensified in the last week as health-care experts and country officials began to worry about their ability to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
Earlier this week, the DRC's health ministry reported that 10 health-care workers had been infected, and that one of those workers was among the dozens confirmed dead. On Friday, the BBC put the confirmed death toll at 63. The outbreak that began on August 1st has now been confirmed to have infected at least 97.
On Friday, leaders of the World Health Organization expressed grave concern as the virus spread to areas of the country besieged by an armed militia group. As the BBC reports, WHO officials are concerned that the Allied Democratic Forces (a Ugandan Islamist militia with a history of attacking foreigners) could threaten the safety of health-care workers in the eastern town of Oicha.
This is the 10th confirmed outbreak of Ebola in the country since the highly contagious virus was first identified in the country's north in 1976 and named for a nearby river.
Joseph Fair, a virologist working with the International Medical Corps in the DRC, told NPR that health-care workers fear a "West Africa-like situation" and are doing what they can to contain the outbreak. Between 2014 and 2016, Ebola killed over 11,000 in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.