Ebola outbreak

Almost 30% of Ebola cases are children - an unprecedented proportion - and the impact is not limited to those who have been infected.

Kambale vient d'apprendre comment se protéger d'Ebola en RDC

The Ebola outbreak in northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the world’s second largest Ebola outbreak in history and the first in an active conflict zone. As of 12 January, 2020, a total of 3,280 confirmed cases have been reported, including 2,235 deaths.

"This is an emergency. There is a very real risk that the Ebola outbreak could spread to neighboring countries, so the international community should urgently come together to make sure that doesn’t happen. This means increasing investment for the response to ensure partners on the ground have the resources they need to treat every single case and trace every single contact. Ebola is relentless, so we must be too in stopping its spread – children and families in the region deserve nothing less."

What is the impact on children?

This outbreak is infecting more children than previous outbreaks. As of 12 January, there had been 959 infections among children. This represents almost 30% of total cases, compared with about 20% in previous outbreaks. Young children – those below five years old, are especially hard hit. They, in turn, are infecting women.


infected children


separated children



Preventing infection among children must be at the heart of the overall Ebola response. Young children are at higher risk than adults – which is why they need specialized attention. But Ebola also affects children very differently from adults, and the response needs to also factor in their very specific psychological and social needs.

What is UNICEF's role?

Our mission is to protect children from the consequences of the Ebola virus.

Jean-Pierre Masuku, UNICEF’s Ebola Outreach Officer in North Kivu in The Democratic Republic of the Congo, discusses Ebola prevention with a girl in Ebola-affected Beni.

We inform communities about the disease, how to protect themselves and how to contain the spread of the epidemic.


UNICEF and its partners support the Government in the response to Ebola.

Un staff de l'UNICEF montrant comment se laver les mains

We make water, hygiene and sanitation available in communities, schools and health centers.

We provide psychosocial support to help families, including children affected by the disease

We provide psychosocial support to help families, including children, affected by the disease

Crèche at the Ebola Treatment Centre of Butembo, Democratic Republic of Congo.

We provide nutritional care for infected people and children whose parents are in quarantine.

Jauspin is one of 3,000 school principals and teachers who participated in Ebola awareness sessions

We put prevention measures in place in schools to create a protective environment.

As the epidemic continues, we coordinate our efforts with our partners to ensure the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of children.


separated and orphaned children have been assisted


persons have been informed and made aware of the disease


schools have been equipped with handwashing facilities


infants received nutritional assistance

To request more information, please contact:

Jean-Jacques Simon, Chief of Communication, +243 826 541 004, jsimon@unicef.org

Sylvie Sona, Communication Specialist, +243 817 096 215, nssona@unicef.org

Hugues de Roussan, Communication Manager (Beni), +243 817 762 566, hderoussan@unicef.org