DR Congo

DRC Ebola outbreaks: Crisis update - 26 June 2020

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Eleventh outbreak declared in Équateur province

On 1 June 2020, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) declared its eleventh Ebola outbreak since records began, following the revelation of new cases of Ebola in Équateur province, northwestern DRC.

Less than two years since the last outbreak of the disease ended in Équateur province, authorities have reported people with either confirmed or suspected cases in the city of Mbandaka and surrounding area.

The eleventh outbreak was confirmed just a matter of weeks before the tenth outbreak - which lasted nearly two years, in the country's northeast - was declared over by the DRC Minister of Health on 25 June 2020.

On 9 June, WHO announced that there is no link between the tenth outbreak and the eleventh outbreak; they also established that the virus in the new outbreak is distinct from that which circulated in Équateur province during the country's ninth outbreak.

Current situation

In the more than three weeks since the outbreak in Équateur province was confirmed, 25 confirmed cases, and three probable cases, have been identified across five health zones in the province.

MSF response to eleventh outbreak

Our teams are responding to the epidemic in the Bikoro and Bolomba health zones of Équateur province, where we have supported the improvement of isolation units in hospitals.

MSF medical and health promotion teams are being sent to the field, while coordinating the response with the Ministry of Health’s partners in the city of Mbandaka.

We hope that effective means will be rapidly deployed to contain this new Ebola virus outbreak. We urgently need a large-scale immunisation strategy; the availability of specific drugs to prevent the spread of the virus and treat infected patients; and the decentralisation of care and patients’ integration into the public health system as an important tool to improve access and build community trust.

Summary - tenth outbreak

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) declared their tenth outbreak of Ebola in 40 years on 1 August 2018. The outbreak was centred in the northeast of the country, in North Kivu and Ituri provinces; cases had also been reported in South Kivu, and some across the border in Uganda.

During the tenth outbreak, 3,470 cases were recorded; 2,287 people sadly lost their lives. It is by far the country's largest-ever Ebola outbreak, and is also the second-biggest Ebola epidemic ever recorded, behind the West Africa outbreak of 2014-2016.

The last Ebola patient was discharged from the Beni ETC on 14 May 2020; after recording no new cases for 42 consecutive days - twice the length of the disease's incubation period of 21 days - the DRC Minister of Health declared the outbreak in the northeast over on 25 June 2020.