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Emergency alert: Ebola in DRC

As health authorities respond to Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), agencies are working to stop the spread to neighbouring countries.

Background:

Ebola is a rare but usually fatal hemorrhagic fever, first discovered in 1976. Since then, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has faced 10 epidemics of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). On August 1, 2018, the Ministry of Health in DRC notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of a new outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces, in the eastern part of the country. With a population of 8 million, North Kivu is one of the most densely populated provinces in DRC. It shares borders with four other provinces and with the countries of Uganda and Rwanda.

Key updates:

  • Since the start of the August 2018 Ebola outbreak, several health zones across the North Kivu and Ituri provinces in Eastern DRC have continued to express confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of 12 February, 823 cases of Ebola virus disease have been reported (762 confirmed and 61 probable), including 517 deaths. The overall case fatality rate is 63 per cent.
  • The outbreak is spreading in areas impacted by violence and armed conflict, making it very difficult to contain. The WHO reports, “the fragile security situation in North Kivu and Ituri, further limits the implementation of response activities.”
  • There are currently no confirmed cases in neighbouring countries. However, affected provinces border Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.
  • An estimated 60,000 people move between Rwanda and DRC daily. According to WHO's deputy director-general for emergency preparedness and response Peter Salama, at least 30,000 informal traders and people go back and forth between the Uganda and DRC border, which poses a major challenge to the Ebola response.
  • Given the fragile situation already in South Sudan, preparedness measures here are extremely important to prevent the spread.

“It is absolutely vital that we are prepared for any potential case of Ebola spreading beyond the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti

WHO Regional Director for Africa

How CARE is responding

CARE has significant experience responding to Ebola after the virus outbreak in Western Africa in 2014. CARE has been responding to the outbreak since August. We are planning to reach a total of 240,000 people with our emergency response. Our work includes:

  • Supporting 11 health centers with water supply and personal protection equipment as well as providing training to health staffs on preventive measures for Ebola.
  • Distributing dignity kits for women and girls at times and places convenient for them. Kits contain soap or hand sanitizers and disposable sanitary pads, underwear, razors and plastic buckets.
  • Supporting 60 schools with hand washing stations and awareness raising.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

In an emergency, a quick response saves lives. Donate now to CARE Canada's Emergency Response Fund.

Media

CARE has spokespeople available in the region. Contact:

Darcy Knoll, Communications Specialist, CARE Canada
darcy.knoll@care.ca | 1-613-228-5641