Evaluation of Early Warning, Alert and Response System for Ebola Virus Disease, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2018-2020

Emerg Infect Dis. 2021 Dec;27(12):2988-2998. doi: 10.3201/eid2712.210290.


The 10th and largest Ebola virus disease epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was declared in North Kivu Province in August 2018 and ended in June 2020. We describe and evaluate an Early Warning, Alert and Response System (EWARS) implemented in the Beni health zone of DRC during August 5, 2018-June 30, 2020. During this period, 194,768 alerts were received, of which 30,728 (15.8%) were validated as suspected cases. From these, 801 confirmed and 3 probable cases were detected. EWARS showed an overall good performance: sensitivity and specificity >80%, nearly all (97%) of alerts investigated within 2 hours of notification, and good demographic representativeness. The average cost of the system was US $438/case detected and US $1.8/alert received. The system was stable, despite occasional disruptions caused by political insecurity. Our results demonstrate that EWARS was a cost-effective component of the Ebola surveillance strategy in this setting.

Keywords: DRC; Democratic Republic of the Congo; EWARS; Early Warning Alert and Response System; Ebola; Ebola virus infection; outbreak; surveillance; viruses.

Publication types

  • Review