Health officials expressed concern over over the most recent development on the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today.
A new confirmed case, the third, has been reported in Wangata, one of the three health zones of Mbandaka, a city of nearly 1.2 million people in Equateur Province in northwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Until now, all the confirmed Ebola cases were reported from Bikoro health zone, which is also in Equateur Province but at a distance of nearly 150 km from Mbandaka.
“This is a concerning development, but we now have better tools than ever before to combat Ebola,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “WHO and our partners are taking decisive action to stop further spread of the virus.”
WHO is deploying around 30 experts to conduct surveillance in the city and is working with the Ministry of Health and partners to engage with communities on prevention and treatment and the reporting of new cases.
“The arrival of Ebola in an urban area is very concerning and WHO and partners are working together to rapidly scale up the search for all contacts of the confirmed case in the Mbandaka area,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
In related news, WHO announced yesterday that a first batch of 4000 Ebola vaccine doses arrived to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Additional doses should be deployed in the coming days to DRC. There are ongoing preparations to start the ring vaccination as soon as possible.
As of 15 May, a total of 44 Ebola virus disease cases have been reported: 3 confirmed, 20 probable, and 21 suspected.