Ebola epidemic in Western Kasai, DRC

On 28th December, a women with symptoms of what could be Ebola hemorrhagic fever, died in Western Kasai, Democratic Republic of Congo. On 25th of December, a man with similar symptoms died in Mweka. These two suspected deaths bring the total to 11 deaths out of 35 suspected cases.

Three patients are currently cared for in a six-bed isolation unit built by MSF in Kaluamba village. Two other patients are being followed at home in Kampungu village. In total, 102 people are thought to have been in contact with the disease and are being monitored buy MSF teams.

An isolation centre with a capacity of 25 beds has been prepared in Kampungu and will be used in case the disease spreads.

An MSF team of 15 is working in collaboration with health authorities of Western Kasai. The team mainly consists of Ebola specialists. A psychologist will leave early this week from Brussels and will join the team in Kasai.

Several rumours of suspected cases or deaths show the fear and a certain level of confusion among the population and health staff. For the MSF team, a part of the work is to go to various health zones to conduct investigations. The priority is still to better understand the epidemic and to get ready to better control it.

A team of educators send out messages in French and in the local languages on local radios, in churches and schools, on posters, and through local leaders and community health workers.

MSF is also training health staff on epidemiological surveillance, infection control measures, social mobilisation, as well as on medical care for patients.