According to health officials in the DRC, at least 66 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), including 39 confirmed cases and 27 possible cases, have been reported in North Kivu and Ituri provinces as of Wednesday, August 15. In addition, 36 possible cases are being investigated. As of mid-August, 42 EVD-related deaths have been reported. The most affected areas include Beni, Butembo, Oicha, Musienene, and Mabalako in North Kivu province, as well as in Mandima and Mambasa in Ituri province.
EVD is extremely virulent. The disease is transmitted to humans via direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids of infected animals. The disease can then be transmitted between humans and is highly contagious, particularly during the hemorrhagic phase. Ebola is characterized by the sudden onset of high fever, weakness, joint and muscle pain, and headache. A sore throat is also a common early symptom. These symptoms are followed by nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, kidney and liver failure, and, in some cases, internal and external bleeding.
Travelers should avoid the area and monitor the situation. To prevent the spread of EVD:
- Avoid contact with infected individuals and any items that have been in their close proximity
- Avoid consuming bush meat and only handle animals when wearing gloves and the appropriate protective wear
- Animal products (meat and blood) should be thoroughly cooked before consumption
- Adhere to a strict observance of hygienic precautions (wash hands regularly, etc.)
- Avoid crowded areas (stadiums, markets, train stations, etc.) In case of doubt, individuals should seek immediate medical attention and comply with all directives issued by local health authorities.