July 18, 2019 9:58 am
Updated: July 18, 2019 1:01 pm

Here’s a timeline on how an Ebola outbreak in Congo became a global concern

WATCH: Why is Congo's deadly Ebola outbreak spreading so quickly?


The World Health Organization has declared Congo’s Ebola outbreak an international health emergency, after the virus threatened to spread to a major city and into neighboring countries.

The response has been hampered by frequent militia violence and low public trust. Below is a timeline of the latest Ebola epidemic.

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READ MORE: WHO declares Ebola outbreak an international public health emergency

August 1 2018

Congo health ministry declares four cases in the eastern town of Mangina, 100 km from the Ugandan border in a province beset by militia violence. It marks the start of Congo’s 10th Ebola outbreak since 1976.

The announcement comes eight days after another Ebola outbreak in western Congo was successfully contained with the use of an experimental new vaccine from Merck.

WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says he is confident in Congo’s ability to contain the virus. WHO sends staff and supplies.

WATCH: WHO calls on international community to help with Ebola response

August 2, 2018

The WHO says the virus is likely spread over tens of kilometers and poses a high regional risk given its proximity to borders.

Health officials in Mangina rush to educate the public about the risks of Ebola and how to stop its spread.

Ebola identified as the deadliest Zaire strain, for which however an experimental vaccine exists.

Health workers carry out the body of a patient with unconfirmed Ebola virus on August 22, 2018 in Mangina, near Beni, in the North Kivu province.


August 4, 2018

Congo health ministry says outbreak has likely killed 33 people. Suspected cases are detected in North Kivu province, where Mangina is located, and neighboring Ituri province.

August 8, 2018

Congo and WHO begin vaccinating health workers. 43 people are believed to have been infected including 36 who have died. 900 contacts are identified for monitoring.

August 17, 2018

Militia violence prevents aid workers from reaching some potential cases. Over 2,000 people have been potentially exposed to the virus.

READ MORE: Ebola outbreak: Canada needs to ‘step up’ and offer more help, U.K. says

September 5, 2018

First Ebola death recorded in trading hub of Butembo, a city of almost a million with links to Uganda. Death toll hits 85.

September 25, 2018

The WHO says it is “extremely concerned” about the outbreak as the death toll reaches 100, two days after militias kill 12 civilians in the town of Beni, near the outbreak’s epicenter.

Health workers burn medical waste generated during care of patients with Ebola virus, on August 21, 2018 in Mangina, near Beni, in the North Kivu province.


October 17, 2018

WHO emergency committee falls short of declaring a public health emergency of international concern, but warns it will worsen unless the response is stepped up. Death toll hits 139.

November 2, 2018

Uganda starts vaccinating health workers.

November 29, 2018

Outbreak becomes the second biggest ever, with 426 cases and 245 deaths, the health ministry says. The West Africa outbreak in 2013-16 killed over 11,000 people.

READ MORE: Officials say first case of Ebola in Congo city of Goma detected

February 24-27, 2019

Two MSF Ebola treatment centers are attacked by armed assailants and set on fire.

March 25, 2019

Ebola cases hit 1,000, five days after the virus is detected in Bunia, a city with close to 1 million people.

Health workers embrace whilst putting on their personal protective equipment (PPE) before heading into the red zone at a newly build MSF (Doctors Without Borders) supported ebola treatment centre (ETC) on November 7, 2018 in Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo.


April 12, 2019

WHO says the outbreak still does not constitute an international emergency.

May 3, 2019

The death toll rises above 1,000. Attacks on treatment centers by armed groups continue.

May 28, 2019

A mob in Vusahiro village kill an Ebola health worker and loot a clinic. WHO says between Jan and early May, there were 42 attacks on health facilities, with 85 workers either injured or killed.

READ MORE: Reporter struggles to ‘keep a distance’ as virus kills his people

June 4, 2019

Ebola cases top 2,000 as the rate of new cases triples.

June 11-12, 2019

Uganda confirms its first case, a 5-year-old Congolese child who dies the next day. A day later, two new cases are reported.

A man receives a vaccine against Ebola from a nurse outside the Afia Himbi Health Center on July 15, 2019 in Goma.


July 14, 2019

First case detected in Goma, with a population of more than one million. The patient, a priest, is pronounced dead by authorities two days later.

WATCH: Vaccine for Ebola administered in Congo’s Goma

July 17, 2019

WHO declares outbreak an international health emergency.

© 2019 Reuters

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