Ongoing effort to stem Ebola outbreak in eastern DR Congo

An emergency team from MSF continues to battle an outbreak of Ebola in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in which 14 people have died.

Two people are admitted to the hospital in Isiro, in DRC’s Orientale province, which is the epicentre of the outbreak. The fact that there have been new confirmed cases of Ebola over the past week suggests that the epidemic is far from over.

“The last confirmed case was admitted to the treatment centre on 2 September,” says MSF emergency coordinator Olimpia DE LA ROSA.

An area cannot be declared officially free of Ebola until 42 days have elapsed since the last confirmed case.

An MSF team of around 80 staff is working with the Congolese Ministry of Health and other organisations to take care of patients, prevent the disease from spreading and carry out health promotion activities.

MSF staff are training Congolese health workers to detect the symptoms of Ebola, and will start providing psychosocial help to patients and their families.

Ebola is a haemorrhagic fever with no specific treatment or vaccine, and with a mortality rate that ranges from 25% to over 80% depending on the strain of the disease.

In late-July, an unrelated outbreak of a different strain of Ebola was declared in western Uganda. MSF’s emergency response alongside the Ugandan Ministry of Health in Kibaale district was successful and is close to an end, with no new confirmed cases detected since 4 August.