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While the fourth deadliest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues — and still has the potential to explode domestically and beyond its border — there may be signs of a slowdown.

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

What's new: The DRC Ministry of Health announced Thursday that 9 people have been cured. As of Aug. 22, the total number of suspected cases topped 100, but only 13 people were being investigated. However, experts warn that it is too early to say if the outbreak has reached its peak.

"We're not out of the woods yet. ... You'll know when an outbreak has peaked when any new cases can be traced back to someone you already knew was infected."
— Julie E. Fischer, director, Elizabeth R. Griffin Program, Georgetown University Medical Center

"We'll know in a couple of weeks if the ring vaccination, positive communication [and experimental therapies] worked," Fischer tells Axios.

The problem with this particular outbreak, Fischer says, is the difficulty health care workers have in reaching possibly infected people in conflict areas. And, this is compounded by DRC's wide range of languages and cultural differences, leading to demand for multilingual medical workers who can negotiate the different local customs.

  • But, despite these obstacles, health officials from DRC, the World Health Organization and numerous other organizations have done a "great job" of hunting down possible infections, Fischer says. She points to WHO's statement that officials believe they have been able to trace 95% of infections.

What's happening now, according to releases from DRC's Ministry of Health Aug. 21-23:

  • DRC administered 2,613 experimental rVSV-ZEBOV vaccinations to those believed to have come into contact with infected persons or who are at the highest risk.
  • Beginning Aug. 11, health officials started distributing experimental treatment mAb114 to 10 patients, with positive results so far.
  • On Aug. 21, another experimental treatment, Remdesivir, was given to a patient in Beni's Ebola treatment center (CTE) and that person is "doing well," the ministry said.
  • DRC's Ethics Committee approved three other experimental treatments — Zmapp, favipiravir, and Regn3450-3471-3479, which will be distributed to the CTEs.

Editor's note: This piece was updated with the latest information from DRC's Ministry of Health, updating all the numbers and adding the 9 people cured.

Go deeper

Progressives to file resolution to strip Boebert's committee seats

Rep. Lauren Boebert walking through the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House progressives are planning to introduce a resolution on Wednesday to strip Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) of her committee assignments, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The move, which was first reported by the Washington Post, comes as progressives — anxious to see the right-wing firebrand face retribution for her recent comments — have grown frustrated by Democratic leadership's inaction on the issue.

Roger Stone won't cooperate with Jan. 6 panel

Longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone speaking in front of the Supreme Court on Jan. 5 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone won't cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and will invoke the Fifth Amendment right not to testify, his attorney said Tuesday evening.

Why it matters: The announcement, first reported by ABC News, came hours after former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said he wouldn't cooperate with the probe.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congressional leaders clinch support for crucial defense bill, debt limit votes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer passes waiting reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Congress has found a shortcut to pass its annual defense funding bill and raise the debt limit.

Driving the news: The House voted Tuesday night on two major bills — one creating a one-time, fast-track process for the Senate to raise the debt ceiling with just 51 votes, and another passing its annual defense bill.