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Expand chart
Data: DRC Ministry of Health; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon and Harry Stevens/Axios.

The Ebola outbreak simmering in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is worsening in some ways, despite major successes in combating the illness in some parts of the country.

Why it matters: The ongoing outbreak is the second-worst on record worldwide. A top official with the World Health Organization — which along with several nongovernmental organizations has been at the vanguard of the Ebola fight — said last week that it will likely continue for another six months.

  • This is despite more than 400 WHO personnel on the ground and what's been considered a successful start of a vaccination campaign there.

The big picture: The WHO has pointed to the success in reducing Ebola virus transmission in Beni, a city in conflict-ridden northeastern Congo, as an example of what can be done to combat the outbreak in other parts of the country.

However, experts say the gains in Beni, which came despite difficult circumstances, don't necessarily mean Ebola can be squelched elsewhere without a different approach or major increase in resources.

  • Right now, for example, health workers are pursuing a ring vaccination strategy, which requires tracking down every person that an Ebola patient came into contact with when they were ill, and inoculating them to stop its spread. It also requires following up with known contacts to see if they develop symptoms.
  • However, there are clear signs that circumstances are preventing contact tracing from working, including the fact that many community cases keep popping up. These are people who weren't already known to health workers.

What they're saying: “There’s still no way out of this without complete and thorough contact tracing,” says Jennifer Nuzzo, public health expert at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “It’s hard to argue against the value of the vaccine, but a vaccine alone is not going to get us out of here."

Go deeper: Axios' full Ebola coverage

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Rahm Emanuel floated for Transportation secretary

Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Biden is strongly considering Rahm Emanuel to run the Department of Transportation, weighing the former Chicago mayor’s experience on infrastructure spending against concerns from progressives over his policing record.

Why it matters: The DOT could effectively become the new Commerce Department, as infrastructure spending, smart cities construction and the rollout of drone-delivery programs take on increasing economic weight.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden turns to experienced hands for White House economic team

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden plans to announce Cecilia Rouse and Brian Deese as part of his economic team and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are experienced hands. Unveiling a diverse group of advisers also may draw attention away from a selection of Deese to run the National Economic Council. Some progressives have criticized his work at BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

Biden taps former Obama communications director for press secretary

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Jen Psaki, who previously served as Obama's communications director, will serve as President-elect Joe Biden's press secretary, the transition team announced Sunday.

The big picture: All of the top aides in Biden's communication staff will be women, per the Washington Post, which first reported Psaki's appointment.