Ebola crisis continues in DRC

Man wearing protective suit

WHO has released a new report that provides a concerning update on the ongoing Ebola epidemic in the DRC

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a new report that reveals that, in the final week of August, there were 59 new confirmed Ebola cases and an additional 45 deaths in seven health zones in three affected provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Four cases have crossed into neighbouring Uganda, including a nine-year-old Congolese girl who died from the disease. “She passed on at around eight o’clock this morning,” said Yusuf Baseka, Health Director in Kasese, a district in southwestern Uganda. “We are finalising the administrative formalities so that the body is repatriated and buried here in Congo, her native country. We are collaborating with the health services of neighbouring Uganda and we will strengthen the sanitary measures here in Kasindi.”

WHO has confirmed that there have now been almost 3,000 cases of the disease and 2,000 deaths. It said that further resources are required to fund the disease response through to December 2019 and it is appealing to donors to provide support. This weekend, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will travel to the DRC with UN Secretary-General António Guterres and senior officials. “Our commitment to the people of the DRC is that we will work alongside them to stop the Ebola outbreak,” he commented. “Our commitment also means strengthening the health systems to give them all the other things they need. Building strong systems is what will protect people, communities and the world.”

With new cases of Ebola continuing to be reported across the DRC, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is advising against all travel to: the provinces of Kasaï, Kasaï Central, Kasaï Oriental, Haut-Uele, Haut Lomami, Ituri, North Kivu (except the city of Goma), South Kivu (except the city of Bukavu), Maniema and Tanganyika in eastern DRC; areas to the west and east of Kananga, including Tshikapa and Mwene-Ditu (as shown on the map); and within 50km of the border with the Central African Republic and South Sudan. Many other areas of the DRC should only be visited if essential.

If travel cannot be avoided, travellers are advised to be vigilant and to, of course, take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before they travel.