Description of the disaster
On 8 October 2021, the health zone of Beni, North Kivu Province, notified a case of Ebola Virus Disease. According to the authorities, the history of this case shows that from 5 to 7 September 2021, a father and his child went to a health centre in the health area of Butsili, for treatment following blood-tinged diarrhoea, vomiting and dehydration.
A week later, on 14 September 2021, the child was re-admitted for exacerbation of the previous signs and the day after this re-admission, the child died in an undescribed condition. On 18 September 2021, the child's father consulted another health facility in the same health area and died there. On 29 September 2021, the child's younger sister presented similar symptomatology and subsequently died.
In early October 2021, the neighbour's 29-month-old male child presented symptoms including physical asthenia, anorexia, abdominal pain, respiratory difficulties, melena, and haematemesis for several days before dying on 6 October 2021. On 07 October 2021, a sample of oro-pharyngeal secretions which was sent to the National Institute for Biomedical Research (INRB) laboratories for analysis, came out positive for the Ebola virus on 08 October 2021.
The epicentre of the disease is the Butsili Health Area, Beni Health Zone, in North Kivu Province. The town of Beni is accessible by air and land. It is 52 km from the town of Butembo, 372 km from Goma and about 80 km from Kasindi, a border town with Uganda. There is also an exit road that connects Beni directly with the city of Bunia in Ituri Province and the city of Kisangani in Tshopo Province.
The town of Beni has communication and mobile phone infrastructure with a presence of community and commercial radio stations including television as well as Airtel, Vodacom and Orange networks which are sources of information and interaction between people. The town of Beni is also a centre of commercial exchanges with Butembo, the Ituri province line, as well as Kasindi, at the border with Uganda. Swahili and Kinande are the two local languages most spoken by the population. In addition, Beni is a host town for displaced people affected by insecurity in surrounding villages such as Mangina.