With the Ministry of Health reporting three new lab-confirmed cases of Ebola in the northwestern city of Mbandaka in the Democratic Republic of the Congo tonight, International Medical Corps continues to scale up efforts to help stop the spread of the deadly virus.
“These Ebola cases in an urban location—a busy port city that is home to more than a million people—changes the calculus of this response,” said Kevin Noone, Vice President of Global Strategy at International Medical Corps. “Isolation and treatment will be key components of the effort, but we must also focus on rapidly increasing capacity to screen for the virus while at the same time working to increase infection prevention and control in the affected areas.”
As of May 17, the Ministry of Heath reports a total of 43 cases of Ebola, of which 17 are confirmed, 21 probable, and five suspected. The 17 confirmed cases include four in the city of Mbandaka and three in Iboko health zone, as well as 10 in Bikoro health zone—the epicenter of the initial reports in this outbreak.
International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team is on the ground in Kinshasa to support Ebola response efforts, and is fully committed to mobilizing a multi-disciplinary response. To prepare for a rapid scale-up of staff, International Medical Corps is coordinating with medical volunteer associations, clinical staff, and previous volunteers, many who deployed with the organization during the 2014 West Africa Ebola epidemic. International Medical Corps stands ready to deploy shelters that can be used for screening, referral, and isolation in Ebola-affected areas. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is currently being procured, emergency lifesaving kits are being prepositioned, and the International Medical Corps Emergency Field Hospital is on standby, should it be needed.