Democratic Republic of the Congo

USAID is responding to an Ebola outbreak in DRC’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces, working with partners to boost infection prevention and control, upgrade water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure at health facilities, raise awareness about Ebola in communities, and provide other life-saving assistance.
USAID is responding to an Ebola outbreak in DRC’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces, working with partners to boost infection prevention and control, upgrade water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure at health facilities, raise awareness about Ebola in communities, and provide other life-saving assistance.
Kellie Ryan/International Rescue Committee

Key Developments

The most recently identified Ebola patient was discharged from the treatment unit in North Kivu Province’s Beni Health Zone on March 3, according to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (GoDRC) Ministry of Health (MoH). The patient’s second negative test result—signaling the conclusion of the period of known potential for exposure to the disease — initiated a 42-day count until the GoDRC could declare the end of the outbreak. The 42-day timeframe, which represents twice the maximum Ebola virus incubation period, aligns with UN World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for declaring the end of the outbreak. The current period will end on April 12 if no additional confirmed or probable cases are detected. However, WHO highlights that new Ebola cases could occur and therefore emphasizes the need to continue surveillance and other critical response activities to mitigate the risk of Ebola re-emergence. 

USAID partners and other response organizations resumed activities in and near Mabalako Health Zone’s Mangina town, North Kivu, in late February. Nearby armed group activity earlier in the month had prompted response actors to evacuate staff and suspend operations in the area. Persistent insecurity, primarily in neighboring Mandima Health Zone, Ituri Province, continues to restrict response activities.

Armed group activities in and around Ebola-affected areas—including attacks in southern Mandima Health Zone, Ituri Province, by suspected Allied Democratic Forces elements in early February—continue to disrupt response efforts and restrict access for Ebola response teams, jeopardizing recent progress in interrupting virus transmission. One of the challenges in fighting this outbreak is that it's in an active conflict zone. Many people living there, and throughout the country, are already in need of humanitarian aid. The United States has provided more than $404 million in life-saving assistance to people affected by the ongoing fighting. In addition, the U.S. is providing safe drinking water and critical relief supplies to those who have been impacted by the recent flooding.

Background

Despite the implementation of a peace agreement in 2003, ongoing fighting between forces loyal to the Government of the DRC and various armed entities has contributed to high levels of insecurity and population displacement in eastern DRC. In addition, intensified fighting in central DRC’s Kasaï region since August 2016 generated new humanitarian needs that have persisted despite improved security conditions. Violence, restricted humanitarian access, poor infrastructure, forced recruitment into armed groups, and reduced access to agricultural land and traditional markets have contributed to the deterioration of humanitarian conditions in the DRC and triggered mass internal displacement and refugee outflows. Additionally the country has seen large-scale epidemics, including outbreaks of cholera, Ebola and measles. On October 22, 2019, U.S. Ambassador Michael A. Hammer redeclared a disaster in eastern DRC due to ongoing humanitarian needs specifically resulting from the Ebola outbreak; Ambassador Hammer reissued a separate disaster declaration for the complex emergency on November 7, 2019, and declared a disaster due to the humanitarian impact of flooding on November 27, 2019. In October and November 2019, heavy rainfall and resultant flooding adversely affected nearly 380,000 people across northern DRC, primarily in Nord-Ubangi and Sud-Ubangi provinces.

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Last updated: March 31, 2020

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