Wednesday, August 01, 2018

DRC MOH Confirms New Ebola Outbreak In North Kivu



For the past several days we've been seeing reports of an unidentified `hemorrhagic' fever in North Kivu province in the DRC.
You'll find early reports archived in FluTracker's thread ​DRC: Unknown disease kills 17 in one month in Beni, a summary from last night's CIDRAP News Round up (see Tests underway to ID cause of febrile illness outbreak in eastern DRC), and several entries from Crof's Blog.
Less than an hour ago, the DRC's Ministry of Health emailed out the following  statement (h/t Greg Folkers on twitter)  confirming that at least 4 cases have tested positive for (an unspecified) Ebola virus.

This is the second Ebola outbreak for the DRC in 2018. The last outbreak in Bikoro was declared over only a week ago. While the below statement describes this new outbreak in Beni as being more than 2,500 km away, that appears to be if traveling via car or bus.


Special Communication from His Excellency the Minister of Health regarding the epidemiological situation in the Province of North Kivu on August 1, 2018
Dear compatriots,
Ladies and gentlemen,

On Saturday, July 28, 2018, the Provincial Health Division of North Kivu notified the Ministry of Health of twenty-six cases (26) of fever with haemorrhagic signs, including twenty (20) deaths in the health area of ​​North Kivu. Mangina located in the health zone of Mabalako, territory of Beni, in North Kivu Province.

Six (6) samples taken from hospitalized patients arrived in Kinshasa this Tuesday, July 31, 2018 and were analyzed by the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB). Of the six (6) samples analyzed, four (4) were positive for Ebola Virus Disease. Sequencing is in progress at INRB to identify the strain of the virus.

Dear compatriots,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Just a week after announcing the end of the ninth epidemic of Ebola Virus Disease in the Equator Province, the Democratic Republic of Congo is facing a new epidemic. At this stage, there is no indication that these two epidemics, separated by more than 2,500 km, are related.

As Ebola Virus Disease is endemic in several parts of the country due to the Equatorial Forest ecosystem, the Ministry of Health has already strengthened its epidemiological surveillance system in all risk areas, including North Kivu.

Although we did not expect to face a tenth epidemic so early, the detection of the virus is an indicator of the proper functioning of the surveillance system put in place by the General Directorate for Disease Control.

A team of twelve (12) experts from the Ministry of Health based in Kinshasa will arrive in Beni this Thursday, August 2, 2018 to set up the various components of the response. This team of laboratory technicians, epidemiologists, clinical psychologists and doctors for medical care will carry a mobile laboratory of the INRB and personal protective equipment.

Dear compatriots,
Ladies and gentlemen ,

The Ministry of Health is taking all necessary steps to rapidly and effectively contain this new Ebola Virus Disease outbreak.

All the usual components of the epidemic response are activated, namely: laboratory, medical care, epidemiological surveillance, social mobilization, and logistics.

In addition, due to the security situation in the affected areas, a new security component has been put in place to ensure the protection of the deployed health care providers and the population.

Therapeutic molecules are already available in the country. The ethics and scientific committees will determine the most appropriate curative and preventive treatments for this tenth epidemic.

We invite people, especially those in the Beni territory and neighboring areas, to remain calm and stay in their health zone in order to benefit from adequate care and treatment during transport.

Further information will be communicated in a transparent manner as the situation on the ground progresses.
 Thank you.
As the following CDC graphic explains, evidence suggest that bats are the reservoir host for the Ebola (and Marburg) viruses, which can occasionally spill over to other mammals - including humans - which can amplify their spread.

While long known for its fearsome mortality rate, until the 2014-15 West African epidemic, outbreaks were relatively small and occurred mostly in very remote, sparsely populated regions, limiting their impact.    
The experience in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have shown that Ebola has the capability of sparking large, regional epidemics. 
Ebola virus disease and the (closely related) Marburg virus are on the WHO's short list of pathogens (see WHO List Of Blueprint Priority Diseases) viewed as having the potential to spark major public health emergencies.

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