Suspected hemorrhagic fever in DRC

MSF sends team to investigate outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo with local authorities.
Belgium, December 6, 2001 - The international medical aid organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) is investigating a possible outbreak of hemorrhagic fever in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The MSF team is working closely with the Congolese Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation. Thirty people have been infected in western Kasai province; of these patients, seventeen died. A second region of concern is Watsa in the country's northeast, where one case of suspected hemorrhagic fever was identified. Viral hemorrhagic fever - Marburg virus, Ebola, Yellow Fever and Rift Valley Fever - causes internal bleeding that is often lethal. It is not clear yet which virus is causing this new outbreak. The team of six left this morning and will give priority to establishing the nature of the outbreak. MSF was involved in fighting recent outbreaks of Ebola and Marburg virus in the DRC, particularly in Kikwit and Durba in 1995 and 1999. In both emergencies, MSF focused on finding new cases as early as possible, isolation of infected patients, training of health staff on how to prevent further spread of the virus, and disseminating information to the populations of affected areas.