Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo (Update 20 August 2012)

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20 August 2012 - On 17 August 2012, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of an outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever in Province Orientale in Eastern DRC.

As of 20 August 2012, a total of 15 (13 probable and 2 confirmed) cases with 10 deaths had been reported. The reported cases and deaths have occurred in 3 health zones as follows: 12 cases and 8 deaths in Isiro, including three (3) health care workers who have died; 2 cases and no deaths in Pawa; and 1 fatal case in Dungu.

The Congolese Ministry of Health has convened a National Task Force and is working with several partners including WHO, UNICEF, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) Suisse, MSF Belgique and the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Similar Task Forces have been established at provincial and district levels to oversee and guide the response.

A joint MoH, WHO and MSF emergency response team is in the field to conduct a detailed epidemiological investigation and support case management. Control activities that are being carried out include active case finding and contact tracing, enhanced surveillance, case management, public information and social mobilization, and reinforcing infection control practices.

WHO is supporting the Ministry of Health in the areas of coordination, surveillance, field epidemiology, laboratory, case management, outbreak logistics, public information and social mobilization. An additional team of epidemiologists, a logistician, an anthropologist and social mobilization officers is being mobilized from the DRC, Republic of Congo, the WHO AFRO regional rapid response team, WHO Inter-Country Support team (IST) based in Gabon, and WHO HQ, for possible deployment in the field.

WHO does not recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied to Democratic Republic of Congo.