DR Congo: DRC announces Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in Bas-Uélé Province

Kinshasa, DR Congo (PANA) - An outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD was reported Friday when Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Public Health minister, Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga, informed the World Health Organization (WHO) about the occurrence in Likati health district of the northern Aketi, Bas-Uélé province,  more than 1,300 km from the capital, Kinshasa.

The announcement followed confirmation of the disease by the National Biomedical Research Institute (INRB), the national reference laboratory.

"Of the five blood specimens taken from suspected cases and analysed at INRB, one has tested positive for Ebola virus  (Zaïre serotype) using real-time polymerase chain reaction," the minister indicated in a letter to the WHO representative in the DRC, and requested "support from WHO to strengthen the response to this epidemic".

Since 22 April 2017, nine suspected EVD cases have been reported including three deaths in Likati health district, meaning a case-fatality rate of 33.3%, according to an official assessment on 11 May 2017.  

"The WHO Country Office in the DRC is working closely with the national and provincial authorities and with the WHO Regional Office for Africa, WHO headquarters in Geneva and all other partners to facilitate deployment of health workers and protective kits in the field  to strengthen epidemiological surveillance and rapidly control the epidemic’’, said Dr. Yokouidé Allarangar, WHO representative in the DRC.  

Allarangar also announced that Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, would arrive in Kinshasa this weekend to attend a coordination meeting of the national committee at the Ministry of Health to deal with this emergency  and ensure that WHO provides all necessary assistance to the DRC.

WHO has also drawn up a comprehensive logistics plan to meet  urgent requirements.

"The first teams of epidemiologists, biologists, and experts in the areas of social mobilization, risk communication and community engagement, and also personnel specializing in water, hygiene and sanitation, are scheduled to reach the affected area today or tomorrow via Kisangani," the administrative centre of Tshopo (350 km from Buta), Allarangar added.  

"The Likati health district is in a remote area, but contact tracing is essential to contain the epidemic in its focus; the DRC can rely on very experienced health workers for this purpose<" he said, appealing to other partners to work with the country to put in place an appropriately coordinated multi-sectoral approach.

Médecins Sans Frontières, the NGO ALIMA, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Gavi Alliance, the World Food Programme/United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (WFP-UNHAS), and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) are now standing ready to lend their support to the authorities in the DRC.

The confirmed epidemic is centred on the Nambwa health area, approximately 130 km from Buta, the administrative centre of Bas-Uélé province, which shares a border with Central African Republic. It is the eighth EVD epidemic in the DRC since 1976.

The most recent recorded epidemic was in August 2014 in Boende region, where the disease was brought under control after it started in Lokolia, now in Tshuapa province.  
-0- PANA AR 12May2017

12 may 2017 16:37:11

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