DRC Ebola Outbreak: CAR Enforces Thorough Border Tests

The measure is meant to prevent cross-frontier spread of the deadly virus.

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As the situation of the latest Ebola virus outbreak in north-western Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, remains preoccupying to the World Health Organisation, WHO, authorities in the neighbouring Central African Republic, CAR, have taken measures to prevent any spread into their territory. Radio France International, RFI on May 28, 2018 reported that thorough testing is carried out on all people crossing from DRC at Port Beach on River Oubangi that separating the two countries.

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Travelling between CAR’s capital, Bangui and DRC sees a daily flow of hundreds of people - who are now subjected to temperature tests to see if they carry any possible Ebola symptoms. Humanitarian flights between the DRC city of Mbandaka and Bangui have since been suspended to pre-empt any spread of the deadly virus.

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As soon as the epidemic was confirmed by DRC authorities on May 8, 2018, WHO and CAR health officials immediately put in place a surveillance system at border posts, especially given that Mbandaka, the most affected area in the Ebola outbeak, is 350 km from the nearest CAR frontier. So far, the Central African Republic has not reported any case of Ebola.

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Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation on May 28, 2018 warned that the Ebola epidemic in DRC was “not yet under control.” It described the outbreak as sitting on “an epidemiological knife-edge.” So far, 52 cases of Ebola have been confirmed in DRC, with 22 deaths. For now, Kinshasa and WHO are carrying out a vaccination campaign in the northern Equateur Province where the epidemic broke out early this month.

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Congo’s Health Minister Oly Ilunga assured that the epidemic was not likely to spread abroad given that all previous eight Ebola outbreaks in the DRC were contained because of the level of awareness at local, national and international levels. This current Ebola epidemic comes just four years after West Africa was gripped by the worst outbreak in history that claimed over 10,000 lives in six countries.

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