[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]
J Travel Med. 2019 Aug 15. pii: taz063. doi: 10.1093/jtm/taz063. [Epub ahead of print]
Ebola virus outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the potential for further transmission through commercial air travel.
Tuite AR1,2, Watts AG2,3, Khan K2,3,4, Bogoch II4,5.
Author information: 1 Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. 2 BlueDot, Toronto, Canada. 3 Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada. 4 Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. 5 Divisions of General Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada.
The 2018-2019 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), continues to spread. The recent discovery of cases in Uganda and in Goma, a major city in the eastern DRC, raises concern for potential EVD transmission in distant locales via commercial air travel.
We examined air travel patterns from the affected region with itinerary-level data from the International Air Transport Association for the year 2018 between July through October, inclusive. We focused on three scenarios; 1) travel from Beni airport, 2) travel from Beni, Goma and Bunia airports, and 3) travel from Beni, Goma, and Bunia, and Kigali airports. We evaluate country-level Infectious Disease Vulnerability Index (IDVI) scores for traveler destinations.
There were 2,255 commercial air passengers departing from Beni Airport during the specified time frame, all with domestic destinations, and 55% of which were to Goma. 29,777 passengers traveled from Beni, Bunia, and Goma airports during this time frame, with most travel (94.6%) departing from Goma airport. 72.4% of passengers’ final destination from these three airports were within the DRC, primarily to Kinshasa. There were 166,281 outbound passengers from Beni, Bunia, Goma, and Kigali airports with the majority (82.1%) of passengers departing from Kigali. The most frequent destinations from these airports were Nairobi, Kinshasa, and Entebbe. Eight of the 10 destinations with greatest passenger volumes are to countries with IDVI scores less than 0.4.
There is little commercial airline connectivity from the current EVD-affected area, however larger cities in DRC and throughout East Africa should be aware of the low potential for EVD importation through this route. Most countries at greatest risk for EVD importation have limited capacity to manage these cases.
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KEYWORDS: Democratic Republic of Congo; Ebola; air travel; epidemic; outbreak; travel
PMID: 31414699 DOI: 10.1093/jtm/taz063
Keywords: Ebola; DRC.