New Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic Of The Congo (DRC)Jenny Abercrombie
IN THE NEWS
New Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic Of The Congo (DRC)
On August 1, 2018, just a week after the outbreak of Ebola in the northwestern part of the country was declared over, initial testing suggests that there is a new outbreak of Ebola in the northeastern part of the DRC. The DRC Minister of Health said that four (4) people in the new area preliminarily tested positive for Ebola, and there have been 26 people with signs of hemorrhagic fever and 20 of those have died.
The DRC and the World Health Organization do NOT believe that there is any relationship between the last outbreak and the new one. They also believe that they are well prepared to manage the outbreak even though it may be more challenging due to its location. There is already a rapid access team present in the area and another team of a dozen will arrive in Beni, a medium size city nearby, to set up a mobile lab like those used so successfully in the last outbreak. Many of the personnel and equipment used for the last outbreak are still staged for readiness.
Specifically, this outbreak is occurring in an area of active conflict called North Kivu, with over one million people who have been displaced from their usual residences. Most of the cases are in a place where getting to those that may be infected is harder to reach than most of those in the earlier outbreak. Finding and testing those that may be infected, and following up on their contacts, will be more difficult with responding workers not only at risk for exposure to Ebola but also to the violence in the area. The area shares borders with Uganda and Rwanda and many people constantly move across the borders in order to trade. The World Health Organization is working with those bordering countries to make sure those countries’ officials are aware and ready to respond if signs of Ebola occur.
Use this link for the announcement from the WHO: