Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak - Democratic Republic of the Congo, August 2018-November 2019

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2019 Dec 20;68(50):1162-1165. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6850a3.


On August 1, 2018, the Democratic Republic of the Congo Ministry of Health (DRC MoH) declared the tenth outbreak of Ebola virus disease (Ebola) in DRC, in the North Kivu province in eastern DRC on the border with Uganda, 8 days after another Ebola outbreak was declared over in northwest Équateur province. During mid- to late-July 2018, a cluster of 26 cases of acute hemorrhagic fever, including 20 deaths, was reported in North Kivu province.* Blood specimens from six patients hospitalized in the Mabalako health zone and sent to the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (National Biomedical Research Institute) in Kinshasa tested positive for Ebola virus. Genetic sequencing confirmed that the outbreaks in North Kivu and Équateur provinces were unrelated. From North Kivu province, the outbreak spread north to Ituri province, and south to South Kivu province (1). On July 17, 2019, the World Health Organization designated the North Kivu and Ituri outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, based on the geographic spread of the disease to Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, and to Uganda and the challenges to implementing prevention and control measures specific to this region (2). This report describes the outbreak in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces. As of November 17, 2019, a total of 3,296 Ebola cases and 2,196 (67%) deaths were reported, making this the second largest documented outbreak after the 2014-2016 epidemic in West Africa, which resulted in 28,600 cases and 11,325 deaths. Since August 2018, DRC MoH has been collaborating with partners, including the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the International Organization of Migration, The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA), Médecins Sans Frontières, DRC Red Cross National Society, and CDC, to control the outbreak. Enhanced communication and effective community engagement, timing of interventions during periods of relative stability, and intensive training of local residents to manage response activities with periodic supervision by national and international personnel are needed to end the outbreak.

MeSH terms

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo / epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks* / prevention & control
  • Ebolavirus / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / epidemiology*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Laboratories
  • Male
  • Public Health Practice