News Scan for Oct 16, 2018

Ebola infections in DRC
;
New Saudi MERS case
;
MERS risk in South Korea
;
Global flu ebbing

Five more Ebola cases recorded in Beni, DRC

Late yesterday afternoon and today the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) announced five more cases of Ebola virus disease in Beni and Butembo, the current epicenter of outbreak activity.

All three cases announced yesterday resulted in community deaths that involved safe and dignified burials in Beni, the country's health ministry said. Today two cases, one each in Beni and Butembo, were reported.

The outbreak total now stands at 216 cases, including 139 deaths. Thirty-two suspected cases are still under investigation.

From Oct 8 to Oct 14, officials reported 33 new confirmed cases, 24 deaths, and 175 suspected cases investigated, the DRC said. That increase represents both the second wave of virus activity in Beni and increased surveillance in the region.

Today the DRC said there are more signs of community involvement in Beni, including people self-reporting to Ebola treatment centers. Officials also said that all contacts of two cases in Tchomia have passed through the 21-day follow-up period without incident. Tchomia is near the Ugandan border, on the shores of Lake Albert.

Yesterday DRC officials said 73 patients have been treated with experimental Ebola treatments, including mAb 114, Regeneron monoclonal antibodies, remdesivir, Zmapp, or Regeneron monoclonal antibodies. Of those 73 patients, 32 are cured and have been discharged, 21 have died, and 20 are still hospitalized.

The treatments are being used in conjunction with Merck's unlicensed  Ebola vaccine. Since Aug 8, a total of 17,976 people have been vaccinated, including 7,620 in Beni.

Tomorrow the World Health Organization will convene a meeting to determine if the current outbreak warrants the declaration of a public health emergency of international concern.
Oct 15 DRC update
Oct 16 DRC update

 

New case of MERS recorded in Saudi Arabia

Today the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) recorded a new case of MERS-CoV for epidemiologic week 42, which is this week.

A 64-year-old man from Afif, Riyadh region, is hospitalized for MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) infection. His case is listed as "primary," which means it is unlikely he contracted the virus from another person. The man did not have any contact with camels.

Since 2012, at least 2,262 cases of MERS have been recorded, including 803 fatalities. The vast majority of cases have occurred in Saudi Arabia.
Oct 16 MOH update

 

South Korea declares end to MERS outbreak

In related news, today officials in South Korea officially declared an end to that country's MERS outbreak, the first to hit South Korea in 3 years, Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

The announcement was made at the conclusion of 28 days without any new infections, twice the maximum length of the MERS-CoV incubation period. Only one patient was identified in this outbreak, a 61-year old man diagnosed on Sep 8 with MERS-CoV infection after spending 3 weeks on a business trip to Kuwait.

Twenty-one patients who had close contact with the patient all tested negative for the disease, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2015, South Korea experienced a MERS outbreak that resulted in 38 deaths and 186 cases.
Oct 16Yonhap story
Sep 12 CIDRAP News Story "WHO details South Korea's imported MERS case

 

WHO: Southern Hemisphere flu activity tapering off in most locations

Southern Hemisphere flu activity continues to taper off, except for Southern Africa, where high levels of flu from both influenza B lineages are reported, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest global flu update. As the region nears the end of its typical flu season, flu activity seems to have peaked in Australia and New Zealand without levels passing seasonal thresholds during the entire season.

In some parts of the world, flu levels are on the rise, including in India, where 2009 H1N1 activity is increasing, and in some Southeast Asia locations like Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. Also, some Caribbean and Central American countries—such as Cuba, Haiti, El Salvador, and Nicaragua—are reporting rising activity.

Northern Hemisphere flu detections remained at interseasonal levels.

Globally, of specimens that tested positive for flu during the last half of September, 84.2% were influenza A. Of subtyped influenza A viruses, 74% were 2009 H1N1. Of characterized influenza B viruses, 49% were Yamagata lineage and 51% were Victoria lineage.
Oct 15 WHO global flu update

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