In an update today on the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) health ministry said the number of cases remained at 44, including 17 confirmed and 27 probable cases, but it said 54 suspected cases are being investigated, up from 47 in yesterday's report.
One more death has been reported in a confirmed case-patient, raising that total to 37.
Samples from two suspected cases in Goma, the provincial capital, were negative for the virus. Also, a sample from a suspected case in the Haut-Uele province town of Watsa, reported a few days ago by the African media, were negative.
The health ministry said officials are putting contingency plans in place in Goma, in case the virus reaches the city. Elements of the plan include identifying an isolation unit at the city's North Kivu Provincial Hospital, putting border officers at city entry points, and beginning social mobilization activities.
CDC experts deployed
In related developments, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today that it has deployed Ebola experts to the DRC and the World Health Organization to provide guidance on outbreak response coordination, lab testing, contact tracing, infection control, and health communication.
The CDC added that it will provide additional assistance as needed, including support with vaccination.
Also, the CDC yesterday issued a level 1 (watch-level) travel notice for Ebola in the DRC. It urges travelers to avoid infected people's blood and body fluids.
The CDC does not recommend that people avoid travel to the DRC. The CDC's notice, however, says that the State Department has identified the North Kivu area as a "reconsider travel" zone because of armed group activity and violent outbreaks targeting citizens.
Aug 9 DRC health ministry Ebola update
Aug 9 CDC press release
Aug 8 CDC travel notice