The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on 01 August 2018 declared a new outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in two Provinces: North Kivu (32 cases) and Ituri (one case). On 28 July 2018, the North Kivu Provincial Health Division notified the Ministry of Health of suspected EVD cases which were subsequently confirmed by laboratory testing at the Institut National de Recherches Biomédicales (INRB). This is the tenth outbreak of EVD in the DRC; the ninth outbreak was declared over on 24 July 2018 in the Equateur Province. As of 01 August 2018, a total of 33 cases including 26 deaths were reported with a cases fatality ratio of about 79%.
North Kivu, the most affected Province, is located about 2500 kilometers from the Equateur Province, where the just end outbreak was located. It is one of the most densely populated Provinces in DRC with a population of about 8 million inhabitants. Beni and surrounding areas, with a population of about 2 million inhabitants, is the epicentre of the outbreak. Uganda and Rwanda border North Kivu on the west with a distance of less than 350 kilometers from the respective capital cities, Kampala and Kigali.
In responding to this outbreak, the African Union Commission, through the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), is taking appropriate measures to support the government-led response including: a) monitoring of the situation through its Emergency Operation Centre; b) coordinating with the Ministry of Health of the DRC and the World Health Organization (WHO); c) mobilizing and preparing to re-locate its Emergency Response Team to the current affected area, d) supporting laboratory diagnostic capacity through provision of laboratory supplies for testing of EVD, and e) activating African Union emergency support mechanism through different units of the commission including the Peace Support Operation Division.
The Africa CDC, through its Regional Collaborating Centres in the Eastern, Southern and Central Africa, is sensitizing Member States through its information sharing platforms in the respective regions to heighten their surveillance and preparedness efforts. Furthermore, Africa CDC is collaborating with the African Field Epidemiology Network to strengthen cross-border surveillance between Uganda and the DRC.
The African Union will continue to support the efforts of the DRC Government during this outbreak as well as neighboring countries. Africa CDC recognizes the need to support the leadership role of the Government of DRC to establish a comprehensive and well-coordinated response strategy. As such, Africa CDC will continue to work alongside other partners to control this outbreak and mitigate the impact on the health and economic security of the African Continent.