Milestones :: Perspectives
Ebola – Democratic Republic of the Congo
Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo
Disease outbreak news
31 August 2018
The outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is at a key juncture. Recent trends (Figure 1) suggest that control measures are working. Over the past week, contact follow-up rates have substantially improved, most patients recently admitted to Ebola treatment centres (ETC) received therapeutics within hours of being confirmed, and ring vaccination activities have scaled to reach contacts (and their contacts) of most confirmed cases reported in the last three weeks. However, the outbreak trend must be interpreted with caution. Since the last Disease Outbreak News on 24 August 2018, 13 additional confirmed and probable cases have been reported, the majority (n=8) were from the city of Beni. Moreover, substantial risks remain, posed by potential undocumented chains of transmission; four of the 13 new cases were not known contacts. Likewise, sporadic instances of high-risk behaviours in some communities (such as unsafe burials, reluctance towards contact tracing, vaccination and admission to ETCs if symptoms developed), poor infection prevention and control (IPC) practices in some community health centres, and delays in patients reaching ETCs when symptoms develop, all have the potential to further propagate the outbreak.
As of 29 August 2018, a total of 116 EVD cases (86 confirmed and 30 probable) including 77 deaths (47 confirmed and 30 probable)1 have been reported in five health zones in North Kivu (Beni, Butembo, Oicha, Mabalako, Musienene) and one health zone in Ituri (Mandima). Eight suspected cases from Mabalako (n=5) and Beni (n=3) are currently pending laboratory testing to confirm or exclude EVD. The majority of cases (65 confirmed and 21 probable) have been reported from Mabalako Health Zone (Figure 2). The median age of confirmed and probable cases is 35 years (interquartile range 19–45.5 years), and 56% were female (Figure 3).
Fifteen cases have been reported among health workers, of which 14 were laboratory confirmed; one has died. All health worker exposures likely occurred in health facilities outside of the dedicated ETCs. WHO and partners continue to work with health workers and communities to increase awareness on IPC measures, as well as vaccinate those at risk of infection.
In addition to the ongoing response activities within outbreak affected areas, the MoH, WHO and partners will be implementing a 30-day strategic plan to ensure operational readiness measures against EVD are strengthened in all provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The first phase of implementation will prioritise six provinces at highest risk of case importations: South Kivu, Maniema, Ituri, Tanganika, Haut Uele and Bas Uele. The main objective is to ensure that these provinces implement essential operational readiness measures, including enhancing surveillance, IPC and social mobilization to mitigate, rapidly detect, investigate and effectively respond to a possible outbreak of EVD.
Situation Report 04: Situation report on the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu
28 August 2018
Implementation of ring vaccination protocol
Since the beginning of the vaccination exercise on 8 August 2018, a total of 4 130 people have been vaccinated, as of 27 August 2018. The current vaccine stock in Béni stands at 5,070 doses.
African Union begins deploying health workers to fight Ebola in the DRC
Kinshasa, DRC 25 August 2018- The African Union has begun sending qualified African health workers into the regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo, that are affected by the latest Ebola outbreak to hit the continent.
These are seasoned veterans as some of them were also involved in the 8th epidemic from 2014 to 2016, and the ninth, which occurred earlier this year.
20 health workers left Kinshasa yesterday, and travelled to Beni in North Kivu province in the east of the DRC. A further 15 will follow in the next few days.
Apart from sending health workers, the African Union is making other contributions. In July, it donated six genexpert machines and 3000 cartridges and swabs for laboratory confirmatory testing. It also conducted capacity building programme that benefitted over 300 experts, on laboratory diagnosis of the Ebola Virus Disease, ports of entry and infection, prevention and control (IPC). Participants were drawn from the country’s ministry of health and the National Institute of Biomedical Research.