Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of Congo
Updated: August 09, 2018
- Update includes changes in affected provinces, and link to the World Health Organization's (WHO) Ebola situation reports for up to date case counts for the most recent outbreak.
Original publication date: May 9, 2018
On August 1, 2018, a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) was reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Cases of EVD have been reported from North Kivu and Ituri provinces, located in the north-eastern part of the country. For the most recent case counts, please see the World Health Organization's Ebola situation reports. The WHO and other partners are working with the Ministry of Health in the DRC to control the current outbreak.
The risk of this outbreak spreading to other parts of the DRC is high.
The risk of this outbreak spreading to other countries in the central African region is high. Both North Kivu and Ituri provinces share a border with Uganda. This increases the risk of cases occurring in Uganda and surrounding countries, specifically Tanzania and Burundi.
The World Health Organization considers the risk of global spread to be low.
The last outbreak of EVD in the DRC was in May 2018 in the north-western province of Equator. That outbreak was declared over on July 24, 2018.
There is currently no licensed vaccine or treatment to prevent or treat EVD. However, there is an investigational Ebola virus vaccine available for outbreak control. See the Government of Canada's Update on the Outbreak of EVD in the DRC for more information.
About Ebola virus disease
Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe and often fatal viral disease. It is transmitted to humans through contact with infected animals. It can also spread from person to person through contact with:
- blood, body fluids, or tissue from someone who is or has been infected with the Ebola virus
- bodies of people who died of EVD
- medical equipment or personal belongings contaminated with infected body fluids
Symptoms of EVD include rash, chills, fever, headache, sore throat, muscle pain and weakness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It can then become more severe, with some people experiencing severe bleeding (hemorrhaging), loss of consciousness and death. Symptoms can begin 2 to 21 days after exposure.
Preventing Ebola virus disease
Before your trip
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel. Make sure your routine vaccines are up to date.
During your trip
- Practice strict hand washing routines.
- Avoid contact with bodies and body fluids of people with EVD or who have died of EVD or unknown illnesses.
- Health care professionals and humanitarian aid workers should practise strict infection control measures including the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (e.g., gowns, masks, goggles and gloves) when providing care for people suspected or confirmed of having EVD.
- Avoid contact with medical equipment, such as needles, and personal belongings that may have been contaminated with body fluids of people with EVD or other unknown illnesses.
- Avoid unprotected sexual activity with an infected person or a person recovering from EVD. The virus can persist for an extended period of time in the semen of infected males and possibly vaginal secretions of infected females.
- Avoid close contact with 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 eating bushmeat (meat from animals caught in the wild).
You should not travel if you know you have been exposed to or experience symptoms of EVD. You should seek medical care immediately.
After your trip
Be aware of the symptoms of EVD and monitor your health.
If you notice symptoms of EVD 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 will assess your symptoms.
If you develop symptoms of EVD within 21 days of your return, call your appropriate public health authority immediately. Describe your symptoms over the phone, tell them where you have been travelling or living and mention any known exposure risks. They will make appropriate arrangements for your medical assessment. Follow the instructions provided to you by your public health authority.
Humanitarian aid workers should follow the guidance provided to them by their organization.
Travellers with no known exposure to EVD are not required to tell a border service agent that they have visited an EVD-affected area.
- These travellers should seek information on what to do if they develop symptoms within 21 days of their return.
Travellers who are at low risk of exposure to EVD should:
- Immediately begin self-monitoring for symptoms of EVD, including taking their temperature twice daily.
- Call the appropriate public health authority during the first business day following arrival in Canada. The public health authority will provide information on the processes to follow if EVD symptoms develop.
- Within 21 days of returning to Canada, immediately call the appropriate public health authority if a traveller learns that they had a low risk exposure to EVD while in an EVD-affected area. The public health authority will provide instructions to follow.
Travellers who are at high risk of exposure to EVD:
- Must report this information to a Canada Border Services Agent on arrival in Canada, as required under the Quarantine Act [Section 15 (2)]. Travellers will then be given instructions to follow.
- Within 21 days of returning to Canada, immediately call the appropriate public health authority if a traveller learns that they had a high risk exposure to EVD while in an EVD-affected area. The public health authority will provide instructions to follow.
Registration of Canadians Abroad
Sign up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to stay connected with the Government of Canada in case of an emergency abroad or an emergency at home.
Information for health care professionals
- Government of Canada - Ebola virus disease: For health professionals and humanitarian aid workers
- Date modified: