Emergencies preparedness, response

Ebola haemorrhagic fever in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - update

13 September 2007

Following the confirmed laboratory diagnosis of the presence of the Ebola haemorrhagic fever virus in samples taken from cases in the province of Kasai Occidental of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, WHO is currently upgrading its field operations to support the Ministry of Health in managing and containing the outbreak.

A team from the WHO Country Office has been present in the affected area since 3 September 2007 with further staff from the WHO Regional Office for Africa joining the field operations on 7 September and this week from WHO Headquarters. The WHO team is working closely with representatives of the Ministry of Health and Médecins Sans Frontières to upgrade the existing facilities. Of high priority is the establishment of a mobile field laboratory to be attached to the existing isolation ward in order to expedite rapid diagnosis of patients and to differentiate between the different pathogens, such as Shigella dysenteriae type 1, that have also been associated with this outbreak. Ongoing surveillance and case finding is also being enhanced and social mobilization activities are under-way to provide the local population with all relevant information in order to contain the outbreak.

WHO is also establishing a logistics platform in the vicinity to support the field operations and to facilitate access to the affected area.