News & Perspective

May 24, 2019

May 24, 2019
Ebola temperature taking

Threats to health workers roil Ebola efforts amid new cases

The outbreak total grew by 11 cases today, reaching a total of 1,888 infections.

Threats of death and more violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Ebola outbreak region kept the response on shaky security ground, with nurses threatening to strike if government officials don't take action and some health facilities closing as health workers flee the deteriorating conditions.

In other developments, the outbreak total grew by 11 cases today, reaching a total of 1,888, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) online Ebola dashboard. Health officials are still investigating 293 suspected Ebola cases, and the death toll stands at 1,248.

Officials address threats

In its daily update yesterday, the DRC's health ministry said nurses in Musienene health zone had a meeting yesterday to denounce death threats and destruction of health facilities over the past few days. The facilities were targeted over their participation in the Ebola response.

The nurses asked local authorities to take steps to tamp down the violent threats and said they will go on strike if the threats don't stop.

Also, the ministry said targeted violence in Beni and Lubero has led several doctors and nurses to move or temporarily leave their homes, forcing some health facilities to close their doors. It added that the worst area is Kyondo health zone, where Kyakumba Reference Health Center has been closed since May 21 owing to physician and nursing staff fearing for their safety.

Since Aug 1, 132 attacks against medical units have been reported, which has resulted in 38 injuries and 4 deaths in health workers and patients, the ministry said.

WHO highlights 7 hard-hit areas

The WHO's latest weekly overview of the outbreak yesterday said no major security incidents were reported in the past 7 days. However, outbreak workers, local health providers, and community members cooperating with the response have been increasingly subjected to threats—spelled out on leaflets or communicated directly—from armed groups present in epicenters such as Katwa and Butembo.

Also affected are smaller hot spots such as Lubero, Masereka, Mabalako, Kalunguta, and Vuhovi.

Regarding the continued steady rise in Ebola cases, the WHO said that over the past 3 weeks transmission is most intense in seven locations that have seen 93% of cases during that timeframe. They are Beni, Butembo, Kalunguta, Katwa, Mabalako, Mandima, and Musienene.

See also:

May 23 DRC statement

May 23 WHO update

May 23, 2019

May 23, 2019
Ebola warning sign in DR Congo

UN names new 'Ebola czar' for growing DRC outbreak

"An enhanced UN-wide response is required. . . . We have no time to lose," says David Gressly.

May 23, 2019

News Scan for May 23, 2019

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Lassa vaccine clinical trial
MERS in Saudi Arabia
May 23, 2019

Stewardship / Resistance Scan for May 23, 2019

Urgent sepsis antibiotics
Resistant Pseudomonas from Mexico

May 22, 2019

May 22, 2019
Donning Ebola personal protective equipment

Ebola responders on edge as virus sickens 19 more

The 19 new infections raise the outbreak total to 1,866 cases amid continued threats.

May 22, 2019
Medical consult in hallway

Experts identify steps to improve hospital stewardship programs

Two strategies—handshake stewardship and diagnostic stewardship—rose to the top.

May 22, 2019

News Scan for May 22, 2019

MERS in Saudi Arabia
Malaria-free certifications
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May 22, 2019

Flu Scan for May 22, 2019

Clinical guidelines for flu
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May 21, 2019

May 21, 2019

News Scan for May 21, 2019

Temperature-stable vaccines
Dengue on Reunion
Avian flu in Vietnam, Mexico
May 21, 2019

Stewardship / Resistance Scan for May 21, 2019

Antibiotic prescribing nudge
Unnecessary testing, treatment for kids' pneumonia


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