MSF tries to limit the spread of Ebola outbreak in the DR Congo

MSF is trying to limit the spread of an Ebola outbreak declared in north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

A retrospective investigation of the suspected cases shows that 31 people have died since the outbreak started in May. Only 16 cases are laboratory confirmed. The epicentre of the epidemic is Isiro town and surroundings, in DRC’s Orientale province. Although the situation remains serious, MSF would like to stress that right now there are only six active cases of Ebola. These cases are identified and admitted to the treatment centre in Isiro. Together with the Congolese Ministry of Health and other organisations, MSF is taking care of the patients and trying to contain the outbreak.

“Ebola outbreaks are studied in depth to understand the dynamics of the virus. There are persons who are not sick at this moment and are being tested to see if they are Ebola survivors,” says Teresa SANCRISTÓVAL, MSF Emergency Desk Manager. “All sick patients have been admitted to the treatment centre since its set up.”

Measures have been implemented to avoid the epidemic from spreading further. The emergency team has set up a treatment centre, has supported the training of the Ministry of Health staff to battle the outbreak and is giving psychosocial care to patients and families. The behaviour of the community can also have a big impact on the containment of the epidemic. Following hygiene measures prevents the contagion and is vital to end with the spread of the virus.

Ebola haemorrhagic fever is a disease with no treatment or vaccine. It was detected for the first time in humans in 1976 in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo). It is transmitted through body fluids and its mortality rate depends on which strain of the virus it is.