Factsheet: U.S. Response to the Ebola Outbreak in Eastern DRC

December 2, 2019

  • The United States is actively is actively supporting efforts to end the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and treat those infected by the Ebola virus disease.
  • The United States is responding to emerging needs and delivering lifesaving technical assistance to end the world’s second largest Ebola outbreak through a whole-of-government approach, including the S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Since the outbreak began, the United States has invested more than $516 million1 in humanitarian assistance for Ebola response and preparedness in the DRC and to the neighboring countries of Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania. We are the largest single-country donor to the Ebola response.

U.S. Response Activities Include: 

  • Activating a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in the DRC since September 2018, which works closely with the Government of the DRC, UN, non-governmental organizations, and other international partners
  • Deployment of health experts to the DRC, WHO Geneva, Uganda, Rwanda, and South Sudan for Ebola response and preparedness efforts
  • Strengthening response coordination and health facility capacities
  • Community engagement
  • Expanded utilization of the investigational Merck vaccine and 2 investigational Ebola therapeutics
  • Technical assistance and expertise for vaccination activities
  • Disease surveillance and contact investigation
  • Diagnostics, rapid diagnostic tests, and molecular epidemiology using next-generation sequencing, and laboratory capacity
  • Support for the isolation and treatment of patients in coordination with local responders
  • Water, food, and other humanitarian assistance for Ebola-affected communities
  • Sanitation and hygiene support for infection prevention and control
  • Border health screening

For more information on the U.S. response to the eastern DRC Ebola outbreak, please visit: https://cd.usembassy.gov/secretary-azars-visit-demonstrates-u-s-commitment-to-help-build-a-healthier-congo/,  and https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/drc/what-cdc-is-doing.html

U.S. Partnerships Strengthen Africa’s Health Security

The United States is a leading partner in African countries’ response to health pandemics and infectious disease outbreaks such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, measles, polio, tuberculosis, Ebola, Zika, and influenza.

The U.S. Government Partners with African Governments to:

  • Control the HIV/AIDS pandemic
  • End preventable child and maternal deaths
  • Eradicate polio, malaria, and other communicable diseases
  • Reduce the burden of infectious diseases
  • Enhance global health security by preventing, detecting, and responding to infectious disease threats.

Under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. government continues annual investments of more than $3 billion. Since 2003, PEPFAR has invested over $75 billion in sub-Saharan Africa. U.S. investments have driven steep declines in new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths in many African countries, bringing Africa closer to HIV/AIDS epidemic control by 2020.

Since 2015, the U.S. government has invested over $1 billion under the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), partnering with 17 countries, including more than 12 in Africa to build national capacities and strengthen African health systems to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats.

In 2015, the U.S. government supported the African Union’s launch of the Africa Centers for Disease Control to advance African leadership in securing African health security. The United States has positioned two Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) epidemiologists at the African Union to transfer skills and build capacity of the African Centers for Disease Control.

After decades of investment in assistance programs and in capacity building, the health status of millions of Africans has improved, country governments have made significant strides in building health systems, and major milestones, such as a polio-free Africa, are in sight.

During the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak, USAID provided in-kind technical support and $10 million to the AU Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA). USAID and the Department of Defense continue to provide technical and financial support for the development of the Africa CDC capacity in establishing the regional collaborating centers, biosafety/biosecurity, and One Health.

For more information on U.S. support for Africa’s health security, please visit:

https://www.state.gov/policy-issues/global-health/, https://www.usaid.gov/where-we-work/africa, and https://www.cdc.gov

1 This total includes $266 million in USAID funding and $250 million in HHS funding through the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Office of Global Affairs (OGA).