Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a rare, and usually fatal, hemorrhagic fever. It was first discovered in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) near the Ebola River.

Ebola virus is caused by an infection and spreads through direct contact with the bodily fluids of a person who is infected or who has died from the virus. Because they are primary caregivers, women and girls are more exposed to the virus than men and account for the majority of Ebola cases. The DRC has faced 10 epidemics of Ebola since the discovery of the virus in 1976.

The West Africa Ebola epidemic, which occurred from 2014 to 2016, was the largest Ebola outbreak in history. Overall, more than 28,600 cases and 11,325 deaths were reported. The epidemic outbreak of 2014-2016 was only prevented by spreading to the rest of the world through determined quarantine, tracking, and treatment measures taken by local authorities, medical personnel, and the international community.

Considering the high infectiousness and high mortality of the virus, many brave medical personnel who stepped up to treat the infected also caught the virus and some lost their lives in the fight to prevent a worldwide epidemic.


On August 1, 2018, the government of the DRC declared a new outbreak of Ebola in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the eastern part of the country.

There have been more than 2,600 Ebola cases confirmed in Ituri and North Kivu provinces in the last year. This has included more than 1,800 deaths. Around 1 of out every 3 cases is a child.

Lack of security in the locations where the virus has spread, which are also some of the country’s most densely populated areas, as well as limited community engagement in the response are main reasons why the epidemic has continued to spread.

Over the past few weeks, the Ebola virus has spread into Uganda which neighbours the DRC. On 17 July 2019, the international community declared the current Ebola outbreak in DRC a public health emergency of international concern.

What is CARE doing?

CARE started responding to Ebola in DRC in August 2018, including in areas where we had been working before the outbreak. CARE’s interventions included community awareness and hand-washing stations in schools and local facilities, training of health staff and provision of water and protection equipment, and distribution of necessary kits for personal hygiene and protection, especially for women and girls who are most susceptible to be infected with the virus due to their traditional role in caring for other family members. These kits include hand sanitizers, razors, sanitary pads, soap, and other materials.

What you can do

In an emergency, a quick response saves lives. Donate now to CARE Canada's Emergency Response Fund.