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Updated 29 June 2018

The outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has so far caused 29 deaths and the WHO continues to assess the public health risk to very high at the national level and high at the regional level.

On 8 May 2018, the Ministry of Health (MOH) of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) declared an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the Equateur Province in the North-Western part of the country. This is the ninth outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the DRC over the last four decades, with the most recent outbreak occurring in May 2017, see our alert of 19 May 2017.

According to the WHO’s latest numbers as of 28 June 2018:

  • A total of 55 EVD cases, including 29 deaths, have been reported.
  • The majority of cases have been reported in the Iboko and Bikoro health zones, but with additional cases reported in the Waganta health zone as well.
  • Of all cases reported, 38 are confirmed, 14 are probable and 3 are suspected EVD cases

The WHO is working closely with the Government of the DRC and key partners to prevent and control the spread of the disease. However, the confirmed EVD case in Mbandaka, a large urban centre located on major national and international rivers, roads and domestic air routes, increases the risk of spread within the DRC and to neighbouring countries. The WHO therefore maintains its previous assessment of public health risk and as of 26 June 2018, the public health risk is considered very high at the national level and high at the regional level. At the global level, the risk is currently considered low.

Recommendations

The WHO continues to advise against the application of any travel of trade restrictions to the DRC. However, some port health authorities may, as a precautionary measure, be in a heightened state of alert in order to identify crew displaying relevant symptoms. One example is South Africa and reference is made to an alert published by the South African Department of Health on 10 May 2018.

Members and clients trading to ports in West and Central Africa, and in the DRC in particular, are advised to monitor the situation closely by consulting webpages maintained by the WHO and other relevant authorities as well as obtaining relevant advice from their local agents well before arrival at the next port of call. 

Relevant sources of information: