The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been responding and coordinating with the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since a new outbreak of Ebola in North Kivu province was reported on July 30, 2018. Early response is critical to contain any viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) outbreaks, but it is especially difficult in remote and resource-challenged areas. For the current outbreak, CDC has deployed experienced Ebola experts to DRC and the World Health Organization to provide guidance on coordination of outbreak response, laboratory testing, disease contact tracing, infection control, and health communication.
Genetic sequencing tests performed at DRC’s national laboratory shows the ebolavirus species associated with the current outbreak is ebolavirus Zaire, the same species that caused an outbreak earlier this year in Equateur province in northwestern DRC. However, differences between the genes of the viruses suggest the two outbreaks are not linked.
The CDC will provide additional support as needed to enhance disease tracking, laboratory testing, and developing guidance and tools to conduct public health investigations and implementation of ring vaccination. This work includes tracing people who have been in contact with cases, providing infection control recommendations, supporting vaccination of people at risk, and giving the latest information to the general public, healthcare workers, international travelers, and public health partners.
The CDC also has issued a travel notice; there is no recommendation to avoid travel to DRC. Travelers are advised to avoid infected people’s blood and body fluids.