CDC providing support as Ebola outbreak in Congo claims three dozen

Tue, 2012-10-02 08:35 AM By: Mark Rockwell

Haut-Uélé district
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention continues to provide laboratory resources and personnel to help battle a growing outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in the African nation of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The outbreak of the virulent virus may have killed up to 36 people, out of 81 suspected cases, according to new tallies released by the country’s health ministry on Oct. 1.

CDC said its teams are on the ground in DRC to help the Ministry of Health with epidemiologic and diagnostic aspects of the investigation. The agency is also providing laboratory support through its field laboratory in Isiro, and through the CDC/UVRI lab in Uganda.

The outbreak is centered in the Isiro and Viadana health zones in Haut-Uélé district in Province Orientale, according to the World Health Organization. To date, 28 suspected cases have been reported and are being investigated.

The Haut-Uele cases follow an earlier outbreak of the disease in July in the in the Kibaale District of Uganda which borders the DRC to the west. In that incident, the CDC said there was a total of 24 human cases (both probable and confirmed), 17 of which were fatal. However, the CDC said the outbreak in DRC is not linked epidemiologically to the recently-ended outbreak in Kibaale district.

The new numbers from the DRC show the outbreak spreading. On Sept. 27, the WHO said it recorded 51 cases (19 laboratory confirmed, 32 probable) with Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) there. Of those, it said, 20 had been fatal (7 confirmed, 13 probable).

The WHO said the DRC’s Ministry of Health (MoH) continues to work with partners, under the National Task Force which includes: WHO; Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF); the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC); US Agency for International Development (USAID); US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to identify all possible chains of transmission of the illness and ensure that appropriate measures are taken to interrupt transmission and stop the outbreak.

Response operations continue in coordination; Infection Prevention and Control (IPC); surveillance and epidemiology; case management; public information and social mobilization; psycho social support; anthropological analysis; and logistics.

The WHO said it is training health managers and heads of clinic services to strengthen surveillance; reaching out to schools through principals, teachers and students; providing psychosocial support to affected families, particularly in Isiro and surrounding areas, where the latest cases are being detected, and to health care workers; training social workers who provide support in the Ebola treatment rooms; and honing interpersonal communication skills training for front-line staff. Local community-based radio programs, it said, are also broadcasting information to address the concerns of the local populations.

WHO and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) have also deployed experts to support operational response. Technical support has been further strengthened with an infection prevention and control expert to assist in preventing disease transmission in health care and community settings.

CDC providing support as Ebola outbreak in Congo claims three dozen | Government Security News