Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have declared a new Ebola outbreak on 23 April 2022 in the town of Mbandaka in Equateur Province. This was triggered by the death on 21 April of a 31-year-old man following an Ebola virus infection. The patient had been vaccinated against Ebola during a previous outbreak in this region.
The patient developed the first symptoms on 5 April and was cared for at home for a week, after which he was admitted to a local health facility. On 21 April, he was transferred to the intensive care unit of an Ebola treatment centre, where he died the same day. On Monday 25 April, a 25-year-old woman died after an Ebola virus infection; she was a sister-in-law of the index patient and therefore someone in the high-risk contact group.
Currently, there are two confirmed cases and the source of the outbreak is being investigated. Sequence analyses of virus samples from the index patient by the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) in Kinshasa indicate that this is probably a new spillover incident from an animal reservoir. The DRC is known to have an animal reservoir for Ebola in large parts of the country.
WHO is supporting the DRC in contact investigation, testing and implementation of public health measures to contain transmission. In the coming days, vaccination is expected to start in the outbreak region as the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine is available in the DRC cities of Goma and Kinshasa.
This is the 14th outbreak of Ebola virus since 1976 and the 6th since 2018. The last 2 outbreaks in Equateur province were in 2018 (signal 3224) and 2020 (signal 3549).