Rapid risk assessment: Ebola virus disease outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces, Democratic Republic of the Congo – fifth update

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European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Rapid risk assessment: Ebola virus disease outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces, Democratic Republic of the Congo – fifth update – 19 July 2019. ECDC: Stockholm; 2019. 

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This is the fifth update of a rapid risk assessment originally produced on 9 August 2018. This rapid risk assessment addresses the potential public health impact of Ebola virus disease for EU/EEA countries and assesses the likelihood of international expansion.

Executive summary

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) by the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) following the recommendations of the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) Emergency Committee on 17 July 2019. The Committee raised concerns about the possible expansion of the outbreak from its epicentre, which has been associated with the introduction of the virus into a number of other locations. The introduction of Ebola virus disease (EVD) is expected to continue. The Committee recognised the potential increase of national and regional risks and the need for intensified and coordinated action to manage these risks. According to WHO, the risk at national and regional level remains very high but is still low at global level.  

It is expected that new EVD cases will be reported in the coming weeks and a wider geographical extension is still possible, given the context described below and the recent report of EVD having been introduced into new areas where EVD transmission had not been previously reported.

The probability that EU/EEA citizens living or travelling in EVD-affected areas of the DRC will be exposed to the virus is low, provided that they adhere to recommended precautionary measures. The overall risk of introduction and further spread of the Ebola virus within the EU/EEA remains very low. However, the risk can only be eliminated by stopping transmission at the local level in the DRC.

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