Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo – Disease outbreak news

On 9 May 2017, WHO was informed of a cluster of undiagnosed illness and deaths including haemorrhagic symptoms in Likati Health Zone, Bas Uele Province in the north of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), bordering Central African Republic. Since 22 April, nine cases including three deaths have been reported. Six cases are currently hospitalized.

On 11 May 2017, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of DRC informed WHO that of the five samples collected from suspected cases, one tested positive by RT-PCR for Ebola virus subtype Zaire at the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) in Kinshasa. Additional specimens are currently being tested and results, including sequencing, are awaited to describe the outbreak.

On 10 May 2017, a multidisciplinary team led by the MoH and supported by WHO and partners was deployed to the field and are expected to reach the affected area on 12 or 13 May 2017 to conduct an in depth field investigation.

The investigation is currently ongoing and information is available for only three of the suspected cases: The first case (and possibly the index case), a 39-year-old male presented onset of symptoms on 22 April 2017 and deceased on arrival at the health facility. He presented with haematuria, epistaxis, bloody diarrhoea, and haematemesis. Two contacts of this case are being investigated: a person who took care of him during transport to the health care facility (he has since developed similar symptoms) and a moto-taxi driver (deceased) who transported the patient to the health care facility.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health care workers has been shipped on 12 May 2017 to Kisangani. Additional kits are currently being prepared and will be shipped as soon as available.

Background and epidemiological situation

On 20 November 2014, as per WHO recommendations, the MoH of DRC and WHO declared the end of the EVD outbreak that started on 24 August 2014 and resulted in a total of 38 laboratory confirmed cases and 28 probable case including 49 deaths in Boende, Equateur province. This was the seventh outbreak of EVD since its discovery in 1976 in DRC.

  • 2014: 66 cases of EVD including 49 deaths diagnosed initially in Equateur province (Watsi Kengo, Lokolia, Boende, and Boende Muke).
  • 2012: 36 cases including 13 deaths Orientale province – Isiro (Bundibugyo virus).
  • 2008–2009: 32 cases including 15 deaths in Kasaï-Occidental (Zaire virus).
  • 2007: 264 cases including 187 deaths in Kasaï-Occidental (Zaire virus).
  • 1995: 315 cases and 250 deaths occurred in Kikwit and surrounding area.
  • 1977: 1 case (Zaire virus).
  • 1976: 318 cases including 280 deaths in Yambuku (Zaire virus).

There are five identified subtypes of Ebola virus. The subtypes have been named after the location where they have been first detected. Three of the five subtypes have been associated with large Ebola haemorrhagic fever (EHF) outbreaks in Africa. Ebola–Zaire, Ebola–Sudan and Ebola–Bundibugyo. EHF is a febrile haemorrhagic illness which causes death in 25–90% of all cases.

Public health response

The following public health response measures have been implemented:

  • The national committee against viral haemorrhagic fever has been reactivated and will continue meeting every day to coordinate the response.
  • Strengthening of surveillance and investigation including contact tracing are ongoing.
  • WHO will provide assistance and technical support. The deployment to DRC of an additional WHO multidisciplinary team is currently considered to support the response of national authorities.
  • The Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) has been activated to provide additional support if required.
  • The need and feasibility of potential Ebola ring vaccination is being discussed.

WHO risk assessment

To date, the outbreak is reported in a remote and hard to reach area and appears to be geographically relatively limited. However, Investigations are ongoing to assess the full extent of the outbreak and therefore high vigilance still needs to be maintained.

WHO does not recommend any restriction of travel and trade to DRC based on the currently available information.

Distributed by APO on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO).

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Dr Oly Ilunga Kalenga, Minister of Public Health, announces an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in Likati district, Bas-Uélé Province (northern DRC) following confirmation by the National Biomedical Research Institute

The Minister of Public Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Dr Oly Ilunga Kalenga, has informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of “an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)” in Likati health district (Aketi, Bas-Uélé province), more than 1300 kilometres from Kinshasa in the northern DRC, following confirmation of the disease by the National Biomedical Research Institute (INRB), the national reference laboratory. ‘‘Of the five blood specimens taken from suspected cases and analysed at INRB, one has tested positive for Ebola virus (Zaïre serotype) using real-time polymerase chain reaction,” the Minister of Public Health indicated in a letter to the WHO representative in the DRC, and requested ‘‘support from WHO to strengthen the response to this outbreak”. Since 22 April 2017, 9 suspected EVD cases have been reported including 3 deaths in Likati health district, i.e. a case-fatality rate of 33.3%, according to an official assessment on 11 May 2017.

‘‘The WHO Country Office in the DRC is working closely with the national and provincial authorities and with the WHO Regional Office for Africa, WHO headquarters in Geneva and all other partners to facilitate deployment of health workers and protective kits in the field to strengthen epidemiological surveillance and rapidly control the outbreak”, says Dr Yokouidé Allarangar, WHO representative in the DRC. Dr Allarangar also announced that Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, would arrive in Kinshasa this weekend to attend a coordination meeting of the national committee at the Ministry of Health to deal with this emergency and ensure that WHO provides all necessary assistance to the DRC.

WHO has also drawn up a comprehensive logistics plan to meet urgent requirements. ‘‘The first teams of epidemiologists, biologists, and experts in the areas of social mobilization, risk communication and community engagement, and also personnel specializing in water, hygiene and sanitation, are scheduled to reach the affected area today or tomorrow via Kisangani”, the administrative centre of Tshopo (350 kilometres from Buta), Dr Allarangar added. ‘‘The Likati health district is in a remote area, but contact tracing is essential to contain the outbreak in its focus; the DRC can rely on very experienced health workers for this purpose.” Dr Allarangar also appealed to other partners to work with the country to put in place an appropriately coordinated multisectoral approach. Médecins Sans Frontières, the NGO ALIMA, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Gavi Alliance, the World Food Programme/United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (WFP-UNHAS), and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) are now standing ready to lend their support to the authorities in the DRC.

This confirmed outbreak is centred on the Nambwa health area approximately 130 kilometres from Buta, the administrative centre of Bas-Uélé province, which shares a border with the Central African Republic; it is the eighth EVD outbreak in the DRC since 1976. The most recent recorded outbreak was in August 2014 in Boende region, where the disease was brought under control where it started in Lokolia, now in Tshuapa province.

Distributed by APO on behalf of WHO Regional Office for Africa.

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Source:: Dr Oly Ilunga Kalenga, Minister of Public Health, announces an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in Likati district, Bas-Uélé Province (northern DRC) following confirmation by the National Biomedical Research Institute

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Statement on Ebola in DRC

On 9 May, WHO was informed of a cluster of undiagnosed illness and deaths including haemorrhagic symptoms in Likati Health Zone, Bas Uele Province in the north of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), bordering Central African Republic.

On 11 May, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo informed WHO that of five laboratory samples tested, one tested positive for Ebola virus at the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) laboratory in Kinshasa. Additional laboratory samples are currently being tested.

Since 22 April, nine suspected cases including three deaths have been reported. Six cases are currently hospitalized.

“An investigation team led by the Ministry of Health and supported by WHO and partners has deployed and is expected to reach the affected area in the coming days”, says Dr. Peter Salama, WHO Executive Director for Emergencies.

WHO and partners are supporting the Ministry of Health in all aspects of the response, including epidemiological investigation, surveillance, logistics and supplies, communications and community engagement.

Distributed by APO on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO).

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Arts and Culture to Conduct Africa Month Public Participation Event in Tembisa

The Department of Arts and Culture invites members of the media to the Africa Month public participation event on Saturday, 13 May 2017 at Imbizo Shisanyama in Tembisa. The month of May marks Africa Month to celebrate the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, now known as the African Union (AU).

The 2017 Africa Month is celebrated under the theme, “The Year of OR Tambo: Building a Better Africa and a Better World” to commemorate the legacy of OR Tambo and to promote unity and integration.

During this month, Africa is called to reflect on its collective achievements as a continent and its citizens to share cultural expressions. South Africa is committed to the promotion of unity and solidarity of African states and its efforts to achieve a better life for its people.

Media is invited to the event as follows:
Date: Saturday, 13 May 2017
Venue: Imbizo Shisanyama – Corner of Main and 29 September Roads, Ext 1 Ebony Park, Tembisa, GPS coordinates to Imbizo Shisanyama: -26.003888, 28.179025
Time: 14h00
RSVP: Madimetja Moleba, Madimetjam@dac.gov.za: 012 441 3737/ 072 842 6594

Distributed by APO on behalf of Republic of South Africa: Department of Government Communication and Information.

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