Thirteenth Ebola outbreak declared in DRC
Following a series of community deaths in North Kivu province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the DRC Ministry of Health declared an outbreak of Ebola on 8 October. The outbreak is concentrated in Beni health zone. This is the thirteenth epidemic in DRC, the third in North Kivu province and the second in Beni health zone.
DRC’s 13th outbreak – information as of 9 December 2021; figures provided by DRC Ministry of Health via WHO.
Two months after the outbreak was declared by the Ministry of Health, the epidemiological situation on the Ebola virus disease is currently under control. There has been a total of 11 cases recorded so far; 8 confirmed and three suspected. The last person with Ebola was identified on 30 October.
More than 30 days have passed without any further new cases notified since 30 October; the last person was discharged after testing negative for Ebola on 4 November. Among the eight confirmed cases, six people have sadly died.
The Beni health zone was one of the epicentres of the 2018-2020 Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is located about 50 kilometres from the town of Butembo. MSF teams have been involved in all responses, particularly in the face of the severe epidemic in North Kivu and Ituri, which was declared over in 2020.
A previous epidemic, the country’s twelfth, officially ended on 3 May 2021 in Butsili health zone.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams continue to work with the Ministry of Health until the epidemic is officially declared over, during the last two decisive weeks for surveillance.
In Butsili and Kanzulinzuli health centres, our response focuses on triage, detection and isolation of people with suspected cases of Ebola. Our teams, alongside those of the Ministry of Health, carry out outpatient consultations, with free care for patients of all ages admitted to the isolation unit.
Our team rehabilitated and made structural improvements in Butsili, Kanzulinzuli and Mandrandele health centres. MSF also supplies medicines and food for the patients admitted to the isolation centre and their companions.
We also provided technical support to the surveillance commission by sending two epidemiologists, one of whom is an expert in Ebola virus management, and an MSF Health Promoter supervisor to support the psycho-social care commission.
They provide technical support for monitoring community activities in order to locate and identify contact cases in the community, but also social monitoring to all high-risk contacts through the distribution of kits, which contain a telephone and food, to encourage people who are suspected cases to self-isolate, and to limit viral transmission in the community.
People at high risk, including contacts of confirmed cases and first responders, have been vaccinated to contain the spread of the virus.