GENEVA, Switzerland, November 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On 24 August, WHO was notified by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Jeera County, Equateur Province. This outbreak, which is unrelated to that affecting West Africa, caused a total of 66 cases of EVD including 8 among health care workers.
By November 20, 42 days had passed since the last case tested negative twice and was discharged from hospital. According to WHO recommendations, the end of an Ebola virus disease outbreak in a country can be declared once 42 days have passed and no new cases have been detected. The 42 days represents twice the maximum incubation period for Ebola (21 days).
Having reached that 42-day mark, the Democratic Republic of Congo is now considered free of Ebola transmission. This outbreak is the 7th outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the DRC since Ebola virus was first identified there in 1976.
WHO commends the Democratic Republic of Congo’s strong leadership and effective coordination of the response that included rapidly mobilising an expert response team to Jeera County, identifying and monitoring contacts and organizing safe burials.
WHO, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), UNICEF and other partners supported the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo with expertise for outbreak investigation, a mobile laboratory, risk communications and social mobilization, contact tracing and clinical care.
The Government of the DRC moved quickly to mobilize expert teams. Early engagement of traditional, religious and community leaders played a key role in successful containment of this outbreak.
The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and staff in the WHO country office are aware that the country remains vulnerable to Ebola virus disease and the country surveillance system remains on high alert.