Health Alert: U.S. Embassy Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (September 5, 2019)

Location:  Congo’s Nord-Kivu, Ituri, and Sud-Kivu Provinces

Event:  To control the spread of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) authorities continue to establish health check points throughout the Nord-Kivu, Ituri, and Sud-Kivu Provinces, including in the cities of Goma, Beni, and Butembo and in Virunga National Park.  New checkpoints may be created with little notice.

You may encounter health checkpoints at the land border crossing connecting Goma, DRC to Gisenyi, Rwanda at the pedestrian (Petite Barrière) and vehicular (Grande Barrière) crossing points.  These checks may slow border crossings.

There are at least three health checkpoints in Virunga National Park set up by the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) at the Rwindi bridge on the Goma-Butembo axis in Rutshuru territory, at the Semuliki bridge, and Kambo ferry in Beni territory.

Over 3,000 cases of Ebola Virus Disease and 2,000 deaths have been confirmed in the three provinces of Nord-Kivu, Ituri, and Sud-Kivu in the DRC since the first confirmed case was reported in August, 2018.  In August 2019, cases were confirmed in Mwenga, Sud-Kivu.

The CDC issued a Level 2 Travel Notice for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  EVD is one of the hemorrhagic fever illnesses. It is transmitted through direct contact with infected persons or their blood, bodily fluids and secretions; through direct contact (handling or washing) with infected corpses; or through contact with objects that have been in contact with infected secretions.

Actions to Take:

  • Be prepared to stop at all checkpoints, follow the instructions of authorities, and experience delays in travel.
  • Provide for extra time to clear health checks at the Goma International Airport.
  • Follow instructions of authorities at all health checkpoints, which may include temperature testing, handwashing, and personal registration. Expect waits and exercise patience at all checkpoints.
  • Always carry a local identification or your passport with a valid DRC visa in case you are stopped at a checkpoint.
  • Take active steps – including malaria prophylaxis – to avoid malaria and other insect-borne and gastrointestinal illnesses that may mimic EVD symptoms and lead to preventable health scares.
  • Check that your international medical and evacuation insurance is current. If suspected to have Ebola, you could face quarantine and extremely expensive medical costs.
  • Visit the CDC Travelers’ Health Page and the CDC Travel Notice on Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has information on this outbreak and advice on further steps to take.
  • See the State Department’s travel website and Country Specific Information for the DRC.


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