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Congo says Ebola outbreak will not hamper upcoming elections

Data: Ministry of Health DRC; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Public health officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo say they will coordinate disease surveillance activities around polling stations for the December 23 presidential election but do not expect the Ebola outbreak to "obstruct" election activity in the affected areas.

Why it matters: DRC's history is full of political, economic and social turmoil, and the country's previously scheduled November 2016 elections were postponed until December this year. But worries persist about the impact from Ebola, as periodic violence and pockets of public distrust have stymied efforts to contain what's now the 5th largest Ebola outbreak ever.

By the numbers: DRC officials say the month of October alone recorded...

  • 121 new confirmed cases
  • 75 deaths, including 72 confirmed and 3 probable cases
  • 36 new people healed

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said Thursday "[a]s the risk of national and regional spread is very high, it is important for neighboring provinces and countries to enhance surveillance and preparedness activities."

Uganda, which shares a border with DRC, announced today that it will begin Ebola vaccination for its health care and other frontline workers on November 5. While Ugandan officials said there's no confirmed cases there yet:

"Preparedness response activities including active case search remain in high gear at all former and informal border points and high-risk districts."
Yonas Woldemariam, WHO representative to Uganda, via Twitter

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