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

risk assessment

As of 5 August 2018, the DRC ministry of health reported 43 cases in the Provinces of North Kivu and Ituri.

Executive summary

This is the tenth Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since the discovery of the virus in 1976 [1]. Genetic analysis of the viral strains showed that there is no link between this outbreak and the recent outbreak in Equateur province.

As of 5 August 2018, the DRC ministry of health reported 43 cases in the Provinces of North Kivu and Ituri. The ministry of health is currently implementing the EVD response plan in the affected areas, supported by the World Health Organization and several partner organisations. Contact tracing of case contacts has been initiated, and the rVSV-ZEBOV experimental vaccine will be offered to healthcare workers and case contacts.

The actual extent of the epidemic is still unknown; the fact that the epidemic has possibly been ongoing for almost three months in a densely populated area with high cross-border population mobility with Rwanda and Uganda is of particular concern. Implementation of response measures may be challenging because the outbreak occurs in areas affected by prolonged humanitarian crises and an unstable security situation arising from a complex armed conflict.

The probability that EU/EEA citizens who live or travel in EVD-affected areas of DRC are exposed to the disease is low, provided they adhere to the precautionary measures recommended below.

There are no international airports in the affected areas that offer direct flights to EU/EEA Member States, which limits the risk of introduction of the virus into the EU/EEA.

The overall risk of introduction and further spread of Ebola virus within the EU/EEA is very low. WHO advises against any travel or trade restrictions.