A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
On 3 May 2018, the Health Division of Equateur Province in DRC reported cluster of cases of suspected VHF 21 cases with 17 deaths. On 5 May, during a field investigation, five (5) samples were collected from hospitalized suspected cases of which two (2) were confirmed positive of Ebola on 8 May. On 8 May 2018, the DRC Government declared a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD), which is the ninth (9th) in the country’s history.
Between 8 and 11 May, additional information on the epidemiological situation shows that the total number of cases now stand at 32 with 18 deaths. Three (3) of the 32 cases are health workers. Majority of the cases are reported to have epidemiological linkage.
The affected community, Ikoko Impenge is situated in the Bikoro Health Zone of the Equateur province of the DRC. The epicentre is a very remote village; Ikoko Impenge health area is not covered by mobile telephone networks but is accessible by road (though access is difficult especially with the ongoing rainy season). The estimated distance from the epicentre to the capital of the Equateur province, Mbandaka, is 280km by road and can also be accessed via an airstrip that is 8km away from Bikoro and the distance between the airstrip and Ikoko Impenge the epicentre is 30 km.
There are currently suspected 10 cases in treatment in two different facilities. Ikoko Impenge health area covers 15km and includes 5 villages, all of which have reported suspected cases. This area of DRC has not suffered previous documented Ebola outbreaks before the current outbreak.
The Ministry of health (MoH) with support from WHO and partners has started response and deployed a team of technical experts from Kinshasa with equipment to supervise outbreak investigation and organise an outbreak response. This team is expected to provide more epidemiological information that will guide response within 72 hours of their deployment.
Additional information from WHO Regional office for Africa indicates that retrospective investigations identified 135 cases, going back as far as January 2018 in the Igende zone, 60km from Bikoro. The first case of the recent cluster in Bikoro was a policeman who arrived from Igende area. He died in a health centre in Ikoko Impenge village, Bikoro area. Following the first case’s funeral, 11 family members developed symptoms, of which seven (7) died. The seven (7) deceased had all either attended the funeral or acted as caregivers.
Summary of the current response
Overview of Host National Society
The Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC RC) is a neutral humanitarian organization, auxiliary to the public authorities. At the national HQ, there is an operational management structure including six technical departments and professionals trained as part of the National Disaster Response Team (NDRT). The DRC RC has provincial disaster response intervention teams (PDRT) with 110 members, a national disaster response intervention teams (NDRT) with 30 members, and 10 staff members that are regional disaster response team (RDRT) trained. Moreover, the DRC RC has a pool of approximately 130,000 registered volunteers, of which 60,000 are active.
The DRC RC has one branch in each of the 26 provinces. In addition, the National Society has a long experience in managing natural disasters and even armed conflicts. Recurrent disasters in the country include floods, volcanic eruptions, landslides, population movements, cholera outbreaks and air crashes.
In terms of health disasters, the country has experienced eight (8) Ebola haemorrhagic fever outbreaks since 1976. Cholera is endemic in some localities, as are measles, poliomyelitis and Marburg fever, among others.
In response to the current outbreak, the DRC RC has already mobilized 36 volunteers. At the headquarters level, a WASH specialist and a logistician are to be deployed on the 12 May to be part of the joint assessment mission with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and other partners including MSF and WHO. The IFRC operations manager in DRC is also joining the team to the epicentre. In addition, DRC RC health director and IFRC colleagues have been participating in all crisis meetings on this specific outbreak. The DRC RC is using the available response stock assets from the 2017 Ebola outbreak response operation to kick start support for the ongoing outbreak in Equateur. To note, the Red Cross is amongst the first actors to send equipment to the epicentre of the epidemic.