Today the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is announcing activation of its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Thursday, June 13, 2019, to support the inter-agency response to the current Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The DRC outbreak is the second largest outbreak of Ebola ever recorded and the largest outbreak in DRC’s history. The confirmation this week of three travel-associated cases in Uganda further emphasizes the ongoing threat of this outbreak. As part of the Administration’s whole-of-government effort, CDC subject matter experts are working with the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) on the ground in the DRC and the American Embassy in Kinshasa to support the Congolese and international response. The CDC’s EOC staff will further enhance this effort.
CDC’s activation of the EOC at Level 3, the lowest level of activation, allows the agency to provide increased operational support for the response to meet the outbreak’s evolving challenges. CDC subject matter experts will continue to lead the CDC response with enhanced support from other CDC and EOC staff.
“We are activating the Emergency Operations Center at CDC headquarters to provide enhanced operational support to our expanded Ebola response team deployed in DRC,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “Through CDC’s command center we are consolidating our public health expertise and logistics planning for a longer term, sustained effort to bring this complex epidemic to an end.”
Since August 2018, CDC has been assisting the DRC government, along with the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa, the Department of State, countries bordering the outbreak area, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other local and international partners to respond to this outbreak. CDC has deployed staff with expertise in epidemiology, case management, infection control and prevention, laboratory science, border health, risk communication, community engagement, information technology, emergency management, and logistics to help with the response. Since September 2018, CDC has also been assisting the USAID-activated DART in the DRC that includes disaster and health experts from USAID and CDC. As of June 11, a total of 187 CDC staff have completed 278 deployments to the DRC, Uganda, and other neighboring countries, and WHO headquarters in Geneva.
The risk of global spread of Ebola remains low. Activation of the CDC EOC does not mean that the threat of Ebola to the United States has increased or that changes are being made to CDC’s outbreak-related guidance, such as advice to travelers to DRC or recommendations to organizations sending US-based healthcare or emergency response workers to outbreak-affected areas.
The outbreak in DRC is occurring in a region where there is armed conflict, outbreaks of violence, and other problems that complicate public health response activities and increase the risk of disease spread both within DRC and to neighboring countries. CDC remains committed to working with the ministries of health of DRC and neighboring countries, in collaboration with other international partners, to ensure the response to this outbreak is robust and well-coordinated to stop the spread of disease and end the outbreak.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
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