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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07KINSHASA1085 2007-09-11 13:55:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Kinshasa
Cable title:  

EBOLA OUTBREAK IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Tags:   ECON EAGR EAID SENV TBIO PGOV CG 
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INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
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					  UNCLAS KINSHASA 001085 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS, SENSITIVE

HHS PASS TO CDC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAGR EAID SENV TBIO PGOV CG
SUBJECT: EBOLA OUTBREAK IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

REF: KINSHASA 01075



1. (SBU) Summary. Ebola virus, one of the hemorrhagic fevers, was
confirmed on September 10 in the province of West Kasai, where
nearly 400 people have fallen ill and over 160 of those have died
since June (ref Kinshasa 1075). DRC Minister of Health, Makwenge
Kaput, received the results from a World Health Organization (WHO)
laboratory in Gabon and from the CDC in Atlanta and announced the
news on national television that evening. Experts from WHO and CDC
are traveling to the DRC to support local authorities and expatriate
personnel already in country. A revised warden message has been
drafted warning Americans of this deadly outbreak. End summary.




--------------------------


It's Confirmed: Ebola


--------------------------




2. (SBU) Lab results from samples collected during the week of
September 3 (ref Kinshasa 1075) and sent to laboratories outside of
the DRC confirm that the disease that has killed over 160 of the
nearly 400 suspected cases in the DRC is Ebola virus, one of the
hemorrhagic fevers. The virus began claiming victims in June,
following the death of a village chief in a cluster of villages
located between the towns of Mweka and Luebo in Kasai Occidental
(West Kasai) province of south-central DRC. GDRC Minister of Health,
Makwenge Kaput, appeared on national television on Monday evening
and made an official declaration of the epidemic. He will fly to the
provincial capital of West Kasai, Kananga, on Wednesday.



--------------------------


Full Geographic Spread not Known


--------------------------




3. (SBU) The disease has now spread from an initial seven villages
to both Mweka and Luebo, covering an area with a radius of 40 miles.
(Note: The full geographic parameters of the outbreak are still not
known for certain. A suspected case in Kananga was proven not/not
to be Ebola. End note.) An estimated 140,000 people live in the
area of Mweka, some 43 miles from the initial outbreak, and four
fatalities there were attributed to the disease before August 28.
Mweka is on the main rail line between Kananga and Ilebo the river
port connected to Kinshasa by boat traffic on the Kasai River. The
last known outbreak of Ebola virus in the DRC was in 1995 in Kikwit,
Bandundu province, 300 kms (185 miles) due east of Mweka, when 245
people died.



--------------------------


Local and International Response


--------------------------




4. (SBU) The GDRC Ministry of Health has already held several
meetings under the leadership of the minister. Provincial
authorities have organized an emergency response team. WHO is
sending two experts in viral hemorrhagic fevers to the DRC. CDC
epidemiologist Peter Kilmarx, with prior experience in the DRC, is
en route to Kinshasa. Additional CDC assistance, pending a formal
invitation from the GDRC, is being organized. Because of proximity
to the Angolan border (250 kms, 155 miles) CDC Luanda is keeping the
GOA informed of developments. Kilmarx and CDC Kinshasa-based
epidemiologist Luca Flamigni will likely travel to West Kasai on
Thursday.



--------------------------


Updated Warden Message


--------------------------




5. A consular warden message alerting the American public in the DRC
to this epidemic and advising stringent personal health precautions
has been drafted and is being posted on the Embassy's website as
well as transmitted through the traditional warden message system.

BROCK