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The risk related to the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is considered to be low at a global level due to the inaccessibility of the affected area and its remoteness to major international ports.

In a press release of 12 May 2017 the WHO confirmed an outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Likati Health Zone, Bas Uele Province in the north of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), bordering Central African Republic. The current outbreak is the eighth EVD outbreak in the DRC since the disease was first discovered in 1976 in Yambuku (then Zaire) and according to the WHO’s situation report dated 17 May 2017:

  • 20 suspected EVD cases including three deaths have been reported.
  • Two of five blood samples collected from the initial cases and analysed at a laboratory in Kinshasa have tested positive for the Zaire Ebola virus.
  • The risk is considered high at the national level due to the known impact of EVD outbreaks, remoteness of the affected area, limited access to health care and suboptimal surveillance, and moderate at the regional level due to the proximity of international borders and the recent influx of refugees from Central African Republic.
  • On a global level, the risk is considered low due to the inaccessibility of the area and its remoteness to major international ports.

The WHO currently advises against the application of any restrictions of travel or trade to the DRC but will continue to monitor the situation and provide regular situation reports including tables, maps, and data on total number of EVD cases in the DRC.

According to a statement by Gard’s local correspondent BUDD Group on 17 May 2017, the government of the DRC is taking all the necessary measures to ensure that the outbreak is contained in the Likati region. No additional control measures or restrictions have therefore been introduced in respect of vessels calling at the Matadi, Boma and Banana ports. Some countries are, however, reported to have implemented entry screening at airports (e.g. Kenya and Nigeria) while others are suggesting that travellers avoid any unnecessary travel to the affected area (e.g. the United Kingdom).

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.

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