There have been nine known outbreaks of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Some persistent problems that strongly influence response:
- this is a very large country: it has the 11th largest area; the Democratic Republic of the Congo covers 2.34 million square kilometers = 900,000 square miles or about one fourth the size of the United States.
- there are more than 83 million Congolese in well over 200 ethnic groups and a similar number of languages. Not all the languages have written components, and it is unclear how widespread literacy in French, an official language, is.
- It is asserted that there are about 7500 physicians. a reasonable estimate would be that the country needed 250,000 physicians
- It is claimed that there are 400,000 people living with HIV/AIDS and that there are 20,000 deaths per year. Our models suggest that the real prevalence is almost twice that.
- A fair estimate would be 30 MILLION cases of malaria.
- We would be skeptical that there are 3,000 kilometers of paved roads capable of supporting sustained medium speed (trucks going 100 kilometers per hour) transit.
According to the Congolese Ministry of Health:
- 51 cases of hemorrhagic fever
- 28 cases confirmed as Ebola
- 26 people have died
Of paramount concern is that one (1) new laboratory-confirmed case was reported on May 16 in Mbandaka, a busy port city on the Congo river with a population of more than one million. This new case is linked with the epicenter of the epidemic in Equateur province, east of Lake Tumba.