A. Situation analysis
On 1st June 2020, the Ministry of Public Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) declared a new outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Equateur province, which shares a river border and significant trade and social links with the Republic of Congo (RoC). This marks the beginning of the DRC’s 11th outbreak.
As of 24 June:
• A total of 24 cases (21 confirmed and 3 probable), with 13 deaths (for a case fatality rate of 54,2%);
• 11 health areas affected across 5 health zones;
• 1,735 contacts of cases identified, of whom 93,6% have been contacted by health authorities within 24 hours;
• 254 alerts of suspect EVD cases, 68,1% of which were investigated within the benchmark 24 hours;
• 5,104 contacts, contacts of contacts and frontline workers vaccinated against EVD, following a ring vaccination strategy.
Liranga, the main RoC town closest to the affected area in DRC, is the site of the largest fairground market in the region, bringing together traders from across the Oubangui River area (upstream to Bangui, Central African Republic) and the Congo River (upstream to Kisangani, and downstream to Stanley Pool, surrounded by Kinshasa and Brazzaville). At the level of the tributaries of this river corridor, traders reach Oyo, Makoua, and Owando in the Cuvette Department and may come by land from Gabon at the ports of Ngabé (Pool Department), Mpouya, Bouemba, and Makotipoko (Plateaux Department).
According to DRC MOH, as of June 24, EVD cases have been reported in Ikoko-Bongida, Iyembe Moke, Bomobla, Bosomondomba, Bosoisongo, Butela, Ipeko, Libiki, Mama W’Elikya, Losanganya and Wangata health areas, representing significant geographic spread in the first three weeks of the epidemic.
Following this declaration of the new outbreak, the RoC was alerted and assessed as being at high risk of importation. WHO and the Ministry of Health are preparing for preventive actions to reduce the likelihood of a possible epidemic in the country, including the launch of a Coordinating Committee for Ebola Preparedness and Response. RoC MOH, WHO and UNICEF have begun activities related to emergency assessment, epidemiological surveillance, case detection and management, and risk communication and community engagement.