Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Updated: May 29, 2017
What is Ebola virus disease
Ebola virus disease is a severe and often fatal viral disease. It is transmitted to humans through contact with infected animals. It can then spread from person to person through contact with:
- body fluids from someone who is, or has been infected with the Ebola virus
- bodies of people who died of Ebola
- medical equipment and personal belongings contaminated with infected body fluids
Symptoms of Ebola can include: fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. It can then become more severe, with some people experiencing severe bleeding (hemorrhaging), loss of consciousness and death.
Why should you be concerned about Ebola?
On May 11, 2017 an outbreak of Ebola virus disease was declared in DRC. The affected area is Likati health zone in Bas-Uele province, a remote area located in the north-eastern part of the country. An investigation is currently ongoing and additional cases can be expected.
The last outbreak of Ebola in DRC was in 2014. That outbreak was contained and ended within four months. The World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners are working with the DRC to control the current outbreak. An experimental vaccine may be used in response to the outbreak in the DRC. Currently, there is no licensed Ebola vaccine available to travellers.
See the WHO for the latest updates on Ebola virus disease in DRC.
How can you protect yourself from Ebola?
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic at least six weeks before your departure.
- If you do choose to travel to the Bas-Uele province in DRC:
- Avoid contact with the body fluids of people with Ebola virus disease or unknown illnesses.
- Avoid contact with bodies of people who died of Ebola virus disease or unknown illnesses.
- Avoid contact with medical equipment, such as needles, and personal belongings that may have been contaminated with body fluids of people with Ebola virus disease or other unknown illnesses.
- Avoid unprotected sexual activity with an infected person or a person recovering from Ebola virus disease. The virus can persist for an extended period of time in the semen of infected males and possibly vaginal secretions of infected females.
- Health care workers should practise strict infection control measures including the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (i.e., gowns, masks, goggles and gloves) when providing care for suspect or confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease.
- Avoid close contact with or handling of animals.
- Avoid live or dead animals, as both can spread the virus. Animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope, pigs, porcupines, duikers and fruit bats may be carriers.
- Avoid handling raw or undercooked meat.
- Avoid consuming any bush meat (meat from animals caught in the wild).
- Practise strict hand washing routines.
- Monitor your health when returning from DRC:
- If you notice symptoms of Ebola virus disease during the flight, tell the flight attendant before you land or the border services officer as you enter the country. They will notify a quarantine officer who can assess the symptoms and refer you to medical care.
- See a health care provider immediately if you develop symptoms within three weeks following your return.
- Alert the health care provider about your symptoms before your appointment, so they can take proper precautions.
- Tell the health care provider that you have travelled to a region where Ebola virus disease was present.
- If you are concerned that you are infected, it is important to limit your contact with others as much as possible until you can be assessed by the health care provider.
- Date modified: