Contextual, Social and Epidemiological Characteristics of the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in Likati Health Zone, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2017.


While the clinical, laboratory and epidemiological investigation results of the Ebola outbreak in Likati Health Zone, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in May 2017 have been previously reported, we provide novel commentary on the contextual, social, and epidemiological characteristics of the epidemic. As first responders with the outbreak Surveillance Team, we explain the procedures that led to a successful epidemiological investigation and ultimately a rapid end to the epidemic. We discuss the role that several factors played in the trajectory of the epidemic, including traditional healers, insufficient knowledge of epidemiological case definitions, a lack of community-based surveillance systems and tools, and remote geography. We also demonstrate how a collaborative Rapid Response Team and implementation of community-based surveillance methods helped counter contextual challenges during the Likati epidemic and aid in identifying and reporting suspected cases and contacts in remote and rural settings. Understanding these factors can hinder or help in the rapid detection, notification, and response to future epidemics in the DRC.

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