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New outbreak of Ebola in northern Democratic Republic of the Congo

02 June 2020

The World Health Organization reports a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Mbandaka, Équateur Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is a different area from the large outbreak that has been ongoing in the east of the country since 2018.

On 18 May 2020, a 27 year old woman died hospital in Wangata, a commune of the city of Mbandaka. Three other people from the same community in Air Congo Quarter of Wangata became ill and died of a similar disease in the following days. The last death occurred on 30 May 2020, with this patient testing positive for Ebola virus. A health worker and his wife were subsequently admitted to hospital with symptoms of Ebola virus disease and they have also tested positive.

As of 1 June there have been 6 cases of Ebola virus disease (3 confirmed and 3 probable) including 4 deaths. Two patients remain in hospital.

Advice to travellers

When Ebola outbreaks occur, generally the risk of travellers becoming infected or developing Ebola virus disease is extremely low.

Travellers returning from an Ebola outbreak area should seek rapid medical attention if they develop flu-like symptoms (such as fever, headache, diarrhoea or general malaise) within 21 days after return. They should call NHS24 (Scotland) or NHS111 (England and Wales) or contact their GP by telephone. While Ebola virus disease is unlikely, the returning traveller should mention any potential exposure to the virus including dates and itinerary of travel.

For further information see Viral Haemorrhagic Fever.