Earlier today, one new case of Ebola was confirmed in Mbandaka, a bustling port city of some one million people along the Congo River in Equateur Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The city is more than 90 miles from Bikoro health zone, where the two previous lab-confirmed cases were reported. According to the DRC Ministry of Health, an additional 11 cases of Ebola reported from Bikoro health zone were just confirmed by the lab.
“While deeply concerning, it is not entirely unexpected to see an uptick in numbers affected at this early stage of the response,” said Ian Rodgers, Director of Humanitarian Response for International Medical Corps. “Ramping up surveillance and isolation will be critical components in halting the spread of the virus, and time is not on our side.”
As of May 16, a total of 45 Ebola cases have been reported, of which there are 14 confirmed, 21 probable, and 14 suspected cases, according to the DRC Ministry of Public Health.
International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team is on the ground in Kinshasa to support Ebola response efforts. Emergency lifesaving kits and personal protective equipment are being prepositioned, and the Emergency Field Hospital is on standby should it be needed. International Medical Corps is coordinating with its global contacts, including medical volunteer associations and clinical staff, to prepare for a rapid scale-up of staff, if necessary.
International Medical Corps is fully committed and ready to mobilize a multi-disciplinary response—including clinical staff, lifesaving medical supplies, equipment, and temporary medical structures.
Previous Experience Responding to Ebola
International Medical Corps has extensive experience in responding to Ebola and other infectious disease outbreaks. In 2014, International Medical Corps responded in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, and Guinea-Bissau. With a team of more than 1500 tireless staff, International Medical Corps treated a total of 460 Ebola-positive patients and assisted host governments in measures to prevent transmission of the virus. The organization’s five Ebola treatment units in Liberia and Sierra Leone cared for more than 2,500 patients. International Medical Corps supplemented direct medical care with the establishment of rapid response teams, Infection Prevention Control (IPC) training, and mental health and psychosocial support.
For more information on our work during the Ebola response in West Africa, please visit our Ebola response page.
International Medical Corps in DRC
A first responder to disasters and crises globally for more than 30 years, International Medical Corps has been operating in the DRC since 1999, and has become one of the leading providers of health services in the country. International Medical Corps is supporting 70 health centers and health posts in North Kivu and Tanganyika, two provinces in eastern DRC plagued by ongoing conflict for the last 20 years. In addition, International Medical Corps is also expanding its programs to help families in Itruri province.