Update on Ebola haemorrhagic fever outbreaks: Uganda and DR Congo


The most recent figures from the Ministry of Health in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) show that a total of 28 (eight confirmed, six probable, and 14 suspected) cases including 14 deaths had been reported in Province Orientale as of 3rd September. Control activities are ongoing and include active case finding and contact tracing, enhanced surveillance, case management, public information and social mobilization and reinforcing infection control practices.

In Uganda there have been no new confirmed cases of Ebola haemorrhagic fever reported in Kibaale district since 3 August 2012, indicating that the outbreak is coming to an end. A total of 24 probable and confirmed cases including 17 deaths have been reported since the beginning of the outbreak. All contacts of probable and confirmed cases have been followed up daily and have completed the recommended 21 days of monitoring for any possible signs or symptoms of Ebola.

Laboratory investigations have confirmed that these two Ebola outbreaks are not epidemiologically linked and have been caused by two different Ebola subtypes; (Uganda: Ebola subtype Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo Ebola subtype Bundibugyo).

Since 1976 DRC has experienced several outbreaks of Ebola virus while there have been two outbreaks of Ebola virus in the past in Uganda. Through these, DRC and Uganda have developed experience in dealing with such outbreaks, with the support of the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and specialised non-governmental organisations.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has published rapid risk assessments of the current situation in both Uganda and DRC. It is unlikely, but not impossible, that travellers infected in either DRC or Uganda could arrive in the EU while incubating the disease and develop symptoms while in the EU. However, such cases should seek medical attention and be isolated, therefore preventing further transmission. EU citizens in DRC and Uganda are not at risk of becoming infected unless they are in direct contact with bodily fluids of dead or living infected persons or animals. Avoiding such contact would effectively mitigate this risk.

The ECDC rapid risk assessment on the outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever in Uganda is available to read here.

The ECDC rapid risk assessment on the outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever in DRC is available to read here.