24 May 2018

Congo-Kinshasa: Update on Ebola in DRC

Photo: MSF
No object that can not be chlorinated can exit the high risk zone. Dona Ebola treatment center in Conakry.

DR Congo — Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has stepped the Ebola epidemic response in DRC’s Équateur province while one new laboratory-confirmed Ebola case has been registered in the city of Mbandaka.

This new case is linked to the epicentre of the epidemic, the east of Lake Tumba, and now brings the total number of people who have presented symptoms of haemorrhagic fever in the region to 51, while there have been 26 deaths. The following is a breakdown of the numbers of cases:

28 confirmed Ebola cases
    21 probable cases
    2 suspected cases

At present, 514 people who may have been in contact with people infected with Ebola been reported by DRC health authorities, and they’re currently being monitored.

Summary of MSF's Ebola response:

MSF emergency teams are already on site and have set up an isolation zone in Mbandaka’s main hospital (5 beds) and one in Bikoro hospital (10 beds).
    Teams are also setting up two Ebola Treatment Centres (ETCs) in Mbandaka and Bikoro, with 20 beds each.
    In the next few days, several tons of supplies will arrive in Mbandaka. The supplies consist of: medical kits; protection and disinfection kits containing isolation items, such as protective clothing, gloves and boots; logistic and hygiene kits containing items such as plastic sheets, chlorine spray kits, water treatments kits and palliative drugs
    Among the MSF staff on the ground are some of the organisation’s most experienced Ebola fieldworkers, including medical personnel, experts in infection control and logisticians.

“This is the ninth Ebola outbreak in DRC in the last 40 years. So far, all of them have occurred in remote and isolated areas, as was the case last year in Likati, when the epidemic didn’t spread.” explains Henry Gray, MSF Emergency Coordinator in Mbandaka.

“With the new case confirmed in Mbandaka, the scenario has changed, and it has become most serious and worrying, since the disease is now affecting an urban area. It is paramount to trace the suspect case in order to have a clearer view on how it reached the city. We are working closely with the Ministry of Health and the other organisations in the field to implement a coordinated, tailored and rapid response to stop the spread of Ebola.”

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