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

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues to steadily grow — creeping closer to becoming the second largest outbreak recorded globally (current second highest is 425 cases). Today, the DRC reported 399 confirmed and probable cases for this outbreak that started Aug. 1.

Why it matters: The country is grappling with the combination of a deadly virus in areas of conflict, multiple other diseases, and attempts to prepare safe locations for upcoming elections next month.

DRC's Ministry of Health says it is sending additional rapid response teams for "defensive" purposes to the city of Butembo, which has roughly 1 million people and is located south of the epicenter of Beni. There's been a worrisome uptick in cases there.

The World Health Organization issued an External Situation Report Wednesday that says they "remain confident" the outbreak can be contained, despite the continued challenges.

  • This was despite last Friday's deadly attack in Beni that forced the WHO and others to halt for several days their work to quarantine, vaccinate and treat people who were in contact with known infected people.
  • WHO's report also notes Ebola is not the only disease DRC's Ministry of Health is fighting — there's also vaccine-derived poliovirus, as well as cholera, measles and monkeypox.
  • Meanwhile, the WHO also warned that more Ebola cases are being reported in children between the ages of two and 17 years old, which is unusual for this disease.
  • However, WHO's Peter Salama praised the community outreach programs, which he says has been encouraging more people to seek treatment earlier — a key factor in stopping the spread in the disease.

Go deeper

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Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

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The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

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Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.