The WHO announced Friday that there have been 52 cases and 25 deaths of Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) reported so far in the Orientale Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo – up from the 15 and ten deaths reported cases in August.
Thirty-five of the cases have been confirmed in the laboratory.
The Congolese health ministry continues to work with local and international organizations to track down all probable and confirmed cases, and increase prevention and control measures in health care settings, particularly in the Isiro region and neighboring areas.
As part of the effort to manage the outbreak, the Public Health Agency of Canada has set up a field laboratory in Isiro through the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, and schools and churches in Isiro, Rungu and Ngosaku are distributing information about how to prevent EHF to the local populations.
Neighboring Uganda saw a similar outbreak this past summer when 24 people were infected and 17 died from EHF. The WHO announced the end of that outbreak on October 4.
Despite the shared border and back-to-back outbreaks, the WHO says no connection exists between the strain that affected Uganda, known as Ebola – Sudan, and the subtype that is currently circulating in DR Congo, Ebola – Bundibugyo.
The WHO has yet to announce any recommended trade or travel restrictions to either country. Regardless, the recent outbreaks sparked an announcement early last month by the Saudi Arabian government that banned Muslims from both DR Congo and Uganda from making the pilgrimage to Mecca this year.
This is the fifth known outbreak of Ebola in DR Congo and the first time the Bundibugyo strain has been reported in the country.