Public health

UNICEF and Congo officials boost efforts to contain Ebola outbreak

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

In response to an small uptick in confirmed Ebola cases in the busy urban hub of Butembo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UNICEF announced Friday it's bolstering its efforts there.

What's new: UNICEF is sending a team of specialists in community communication, education, psycho-social assistance and hygiene to help contain the disease and avoid any further spread of the epidemic, which has become the 8th largest outbreak on record.

Expert Voices

HPV vaccination rates show progress, but off track for 2020 goal

Pediatrician Richard K. Ohnmacht prepares a shot of the HPV vaccine Gardasil for a patient at his office in Cranston, Rhode Island, Sept. 3, 2015.
A pediatrician prepares a shot of the HPV vaccine Gardasil for a patient. Photo: Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

In 2006, a safe and effective human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine became available to protect against cancers caused by HPV infection. HPV vaccination rates in adolescent boys and girls are rising, though still not fast enough, with HPV-linked cancer cases soaring by nearly 45% between 1999 and 2015. Fewer than half of American adolescents have been fully vaccinated, far short of the 80% goal officials have set for 2020.

Why it matters: The lifetime risk of acquiring an HPV infection is approximately 80%. Each year, 14 million new cases are diagnosed in the U.S., and 79 million Americans are currently infected, putting them at increased risk of cervical cancer as well as throat, vaginal, penile and anal cancers. A more comprehensive campaign is needed to make the world free of HPV infections.