Ebola and its remote geography mean outbreaks are often localised and relatively easy to isolate. The affected area in Bikoro is remote, with limited communication and poor transportation infrastructure, the World Health Organization said.
What makes Ebola more risky is that it is hard to diagnose someone with the disease until they have been actually infected with it for a few days already.
Among humans, the commonest form of infection is through close contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of someone who is sick with Ebola or has recently died - a risk in African cultures where relatives typically touch the body of the deceased at funerals. The virus is also spread through sexual contact.
17 people have been confirmed dead after an Ebola outbreak in Équateur Province.
Ebola experts have various suspicions about why the DRC remains so vulnerable. "It is important to remember that there are several types of hemorrhagic fever apart from the Ebola virus" in the country, Ilunga says. Rounding up some of those bats could have given scientists a chance to test the animals and confirm them as a main reservoir for the disease.
The province of Equateur has an estimated population of 2.5 million people with 284 registered health facilities. Three health workers have been affected, with two suspected cases and a probable case who died.
"In addition to showing high efficacy among those vaccinated, the trial also shows that unvaccinated people in the rings were indirectly protected from Ebola virus through the ring vaccination approach (so called "herd immunity")".
The initial focus will be on surveillance and understanding the extent of the outbreak; safe burials; case by case management; and preparing for any public health measures deemed necessary in terms of vaccination. DRC is about the size of Greenland-almost a million square miles-and much of it has always been forested, notes Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Despite it occurring outside an urban area, this particular outbreak may be harder to contain because it has already spread across 56 kilometres. Whether or not the DRC is truly seeing the disease much more than some of its neighbors is debatable, Rollins says.
Ebola is making a reappearance in Central Africa.
A spokesman for the director of epidemiology in Congo Republic said government experts would meet on Thursday to discuss measures to prevent it crossing the border. "In the coming days, we will train another 150 volunteers on the ground to strengthen community surveillance in Bikoro and neighbouring health zones".
The healthcare ministry included that Nigeria was thinking about sending a team of health employees into the DRC to assist contain the outbreak. "The last epidemic affected the entire continent, but it is not the same case this time", said the CS while addressing journalists at the airport on Friday. That makes me think this is the tip of the iceberg.
The response "is going to be extremely challenging, and very costly", he said.