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Second worst outbreak of Ebola in history hits the Congo; more than 1,000 infected

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Hundreds of people have already died from the outbreak

JOHN WESSELS/AFP/Getty Images

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been hit by the second worst outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in recorded history. More than 1,000 people have been confirmed to have been infected, and hundreds have already died from it.

Here's what we know

Since the start of the outbreak, 610 people have died, according to the World Health Organization — 62 percent of the total number infected. In the past week alone, there were 58 reported cases of the virus.

Michael Ryan, the World Health Organization's assistant director general for emergencies, told The Hill that "[a] lot of patients are arriving quite sick. Five, six, 10 days after infection. It's also bad for their families, it's also bad for their communities, because they're transmitting the disease before they are isolated."

The deadlier outbreak occurred in 2014, when 11,000 people in West Africa died from Ebola. At this point, the outbreak seems contained to two northern provinces of the country: Kivu and Ituri.

Even before the outbreak, Kivu was the site of increasing conflict. The situation there is so unstable, according to The Hill, that the State Department has banned U.S. government aid workers from traveling to the area to help treat Ebola patients.

These precautions do not seem to have been without merit. In February, Ebola treatment facilities were attacked by angry mobs. The threat of violence was severe enough that Doctors Without Borders decided to recall its people from the region.

What else?

All of these factors have made it more difficult for the health workers who are still in the area to effectively treat the disease. But, thankfully, they're still trying.

According to the World Health Organization, despite the obstacles, "over 90% of people eligible for vaccination have accepted to do so, and over 90% of these individuals having participated in follow-up visits. To date, 89,855 people have been vaccinated."

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