Ebola haemorrhagic fever in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - update 4
3 October 2007
The Ministry of Health has confirmed that, as of 2 October 2007, a total of 25 out of 76 suspected cases of Ebola haemorrhagic fever from the province of Kasai Occidental have now tested positive for the disease. A further 187 contacts are currently under medical observation and will remain so until each has reached the end of their respective potential incubation periods without developing any symptoms of the disease.
Although there is now strong clinical and epidemiological evidence to suggest that the outbreak is slowing, identifying and isolating all suspect cases is still a priority for the response teams to ensure that the chains of transmission are broken. This includes following up any contacts over the incubation period in order to isolate them immediately if they become ill. Two consecutive incubation periods must elapse, a total of 42 days following the identification and isolation of the last confirmed case, before the outbreak is considered controlled.
The international response team, with the participation of members of the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, is continuing to work with the Ministry of Health in all areas of disease control including community health education, social mobilization, contact tracing, clinical management, infection control in health facilities and rapid on-site laboratory diagnosis. The international team is also assisting in conducting retrospective epidemiological studies to further characterize the outbreak.