Further information about the Ebola Virus Fever epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Due to the Ebola Virus Fever epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), those individuals, organizations and companies with activities in Central Africa may be concerned about the potential impact of the current epidemic on their activities. Many of us are concerned about the growth of the Ebola epidemic and the potential for the disease to cross the borders to either one or both of the neighbouring countries, Uganda and Rwanda. Fortunately, neither has happened for the time being, although it is much too early to be truly relieved about the current situation.

On August 15th, 2019 the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that as of 13/8/19 a total of 2,842 cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) have occurred, killing two-thirds of those infected. The incidence of new cases has remained stable at around 81 cases a week for six weeks. The epidemic has remained restricted to districts in the north east of the DRC and has not crossed the borders of neighboring countries. In the last notice we mentioned preparations in Rwanda; now local sanitary authorities in Uganda report that a vaccination campaign is ongoing at the border of the DRC to vaccinate health care workers and other staff expected to be in contact with infected people near border checkpoints. No new cases have occurred in the large urban metropolis of Goma, where the total number of cases is 4.

Europ Assistance’s recommendations for its clients remain the same, namely to avoid any travel to the eastern provinces of the DRC, specifically to the North Kivu and Ituri provinces, unless one is directly involved in fighting the outbreak. The latter should use all proper precautions when visiting health care facilities and those in contact with patients should be vaccinated according to the protocols in place - same precautions apply regarding attendance at funerals. It’s also important to note that consumption of bushmeat should be avoided.

There are no restrictions on travel to other provinces of the DRC, especially to the capital Kinshasa, and other neighbouring countries. It must be noted that given the need to avoid the spread of the outbreak the air ambulance evacuation of positive cases will be only carried out in very strictly controlled cases where the patient has been accepted by the authorities of the receiving country. Cases will be treated locally, including the use of antibody-based treatments that have proven effective in reducing case fatality.