Random Analytics: Ebola in the DRC (to 27 Aug 2014)

by Shane Granger

Over the past 24-hours the World Health Organisation has confirmed another outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), this time in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Although the Ebola species hasn’t yet been confirmed Ian M. Mackay (who knows a thing or two about this subject) suspects it might be Sudan Ebolavirus (read his excellent post and view his infographic here). To give you an idea where Equateur province is in relation to the DRC I’ve put together an infographic but have failed to locate where Ikanamongo Village is (where the index case ate the bush animal, possibly a bat and became ill).

According to my historical reckoning this would be the eighth outbreak of EVD in the DRC, six of Ebola Zaire, one of Ebola Bundibugyo and the most recent which remains unconfirmed. It should be noted that my count includes the retrospective confirmation of Ebola Zaire from 1972. If it does turn out to be a variant of Ebola Sudan then this would be the ninth iteration of the disease with 3 confirmations in what is now South Sudan, four in Uganda, one accidental infection in the UK and potentially the most recent DRC outbreak.

1 - Ebola_DRC_140828

Via the World Health Organisation. Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of Congo Disease outbreak news 27 August 2014. Excerpt:

Epidemiology and surveillance

On 26 August 2014, the Ministry of Health, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Equateur Province.

The index case was a pregnant woman from Ikanamongo Village who butchered a bush animal that had been killed and given to her by her husband. She became ill with symptoms of EVD and reported to a private clinic in Isaka Village. On 11 August 2014, she died of a then-unidentified haemorrhagic fever. Local customs and rituals associated with death meant that several health-care workers were exposed and presented with similar symptoms in the following week.

Between 28 July and 18 August 2014, a total of 24 suspected cases of haemorrhagic fever, including 13 deaths, have been identified. Human-to-human transmission has been established and includes the health-care personnel who were exposed to the deceased pregnant woman during surgery (one doctor and two nurses) in addition to the hygienist and a ward boy, all of whom developed symptoms and died. Other deaths have been recorded among the relatives who attended the index case, individuals who were in contact with the clinic staff, and those who handled the bodies of the deceased during funerals. The other 11 cases are currently being treated in isolation centres.

Samples have been sent to laboratories in Kinshasa and in Gabon for confirmation of EVD and to identify the strain. The index case and the 80 contacts have no history of travel to the EVD-affected countries in West Africa (Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, or Sierra Leone) or history of contact with individuals from the affected areas. At this time, it is believed that the outbreak in DRC is unrelated to the ongoing outbreak in west Africa.


Data Sources

[1] d-maps.com. Africa: states, main cities. Accessed 28 August 2014.
[2] d-maps.com. Democratic Republic of the Congo / République Democratique du Congo: boundaries, provinces, main cities. Accessed 26 August 2014.
[3] Wikipedia. File:Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.svg. Accessed 28 August 2014.
[4] World Health Organisation. Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of Congo Disease outbreak news 27 August 2014. Accessed 28 August 2014.