Ebola updates

Latest updates

19 July 2019

On 17 July 2019 the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in relation to the ongoing Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At 17 July 2019 there have been over 2500 confirmed or probable cases of Ebola resulting in over 1600 deaths since the outbreak began in August 2018. The outbreak is predominantly affecting two provinces in the DRC, North Kivu and Ituri.

Risk assessment

The risk to New Zealand has been identified as low, and no action is required. The WHO has made recommendations for countries that are not directly affected and do not neighbour an affected country:

  • No country should close its borders or place any restrictions on travel and trade. Such measures are usually implemented out of fear and have no basis in science. They push the movement of people and goods to informal border crossings that are not monitored, thus increasing the chances of the spread of disease. Most critically, these restrictions can also compromise local economies and negatively affect response operations from a security and logistics perspective.
  • National authorities should work with airlines and other transport and tourism industries to ensure that they do not exceed WHO’s advice on international traffic.
  • The Committee does not consider entry screening at airports or other ports of entry outside the region to be necessary.

More information is available on the World Health Organization website

1 August 2018

The World Health Organization was notified by the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in North Kivu province. Cases have also been subsequently found in the Ituri Province. Between 4 May and 15 October 2018, 216 EVD cases have been reported, of which 181 are confirmed and 35 are probable. The global case fatality rate stands at 64% overall, and at 57% among confirmed cases.

This is the tenth outbreak of EVD over the last four decades in the country.

24 May 2018

The WHO, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and international partners are responding to an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the DRC using a model that was successful in resolving a similar outbreak in 2017. 

The risk to New Zealand from EVD in the DRC is low due to the mode of transmission of the virus, the distance from New Zealand, the low number of travellers coming to New Zealand from the DRC, increased exit screening occurring in the DRC, and the rapid response of the DRC Government and the WHO to manage the outbreak.

29 December 2015

WHO declared Guinea free of Ebola virus transmission, as 42 days have passed since the last confirmed case had a second negative blood test.

9 November 2015 

On 7 November 2015, WHO declared Sierra Leone free of Ebola virus transmission, as 42 days have passed since the last confirmed case had a second negative blood test.

11 May 2015

On 9 May 2015, WHO declared Liberia free of Ebola virus transmission, as 42 days have passed since the last laboratory-confirmed case was buried.

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