Emergencies preparedness, response

Plague in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - update

1 March 2005

The multidisciplinary team arrived in Zobia, Bas-Uele district, Oriental province on 25 February where the suspected cases of pneumonic plague have occurred (see previous report). The team now consists of epidemiologists, a clinician, data manager, logistician and experts in social mobilization from the Congolese Ministry of Health and WHO (Country and African Regional Offices and headquarters), laboratory experts from the WHO Collaborating Centre, Institut Pasteur, Madagascar and a logistician and clinical management team from Médecins sans Frontières (MSF- Belgium).

The team is carrying out intensive surveillance activities. Since the 25 February, 4 probable cases (including 1 death) and 4 suspect cases have been reported. A retrospective study of cases is ongoing and an additional 34 samples have been collected for testing at the Institut de la Recherche Biomedicale, Kinshasa. The team is actively following up 113 contacts in surrounding areas. MSF have established an isolation centre for treatment of cases.

A committee for the Control of Epidemics has been created with the local authorities. WHO has provided 500 kilos of equipment, including drugs and materials for case management and for laboratory sampling and diagnosis.