Epidemiological update: Ebola virus disease outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Since 11 May and as of 8 September 2018, 131 Ebola cases were reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), of which 100 are confirmed and 31 probable. Among the 131 cases, 90 had a fatal outcome. Eight health zones in two provinces have reported confirmed and probable EVD cases, including Mabalako, Beni, Butembo, Oicha, Masereka, Kalungata and Musienene health zones in North Kivu Province and Mandima Health Zone in Ituri Province.
According to the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Operations (ECHO), as of 9 September 2018, 2 009 contacts have been identified (685 in Mabalako, 595 in Beni, 170 in Mandima, 89 in Oicha and 289 in Butembo) and 75.1% of contacts were followed up. Regarding vaccination, 7 390 people have been vaccinated (3 475 in Mabalako, 2 190 in Beni, 1 207 in Mandima, 152 in Masereka, 167 in Butembo, 70 in Katwa, 121 in Oicha, and 19 in Kinshasa).
Additional cases in Butembo city would be of concern as this city has more than one million inhabitants ant it is a commercial and travel hub between DRC and Uganda. So far, two probable cases and one confirmed case have been reported in Butembo as of 8 September. This situation has the potential for new chains of transmission if not rapidly controlled. In addition, the implementation of outbreak control measures may be affected by the security situation and the humanitarian crisis in the North Kivu province.
According to WHO, the large number of internally displaced persons and the influx of Congolese refugees in neighbouring countries pose a risk factor for transmission of the virus at national and regional level.
The risk of introduction of the virus via an infected traveller to the EU/EEA is considered very low at this stage, see ECDC’s rapid risk assessment