13 new Ebola cases noted in DRC, including family in Katwa

The Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded 13 more new cases of Ebola in its update today, but the number of suspected cases still under investigation fell from 71 to 48.

The outbreak totals now stand at 386 cases (339 confirmed, 47 probable), including 219 deaths. So far, 113 people have recovered from their infections, the health ministry said.

The new cases include 7 in Katwa, 2 in Beni, 2 in Kalunguta, and 1 each in Oicha and Mutwanga, all villages and cities in the DRC's North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

The outbreak, which began this summer, is the DRC's largest. It is on pace to surpass the world's second-largest Ebola outbreak ever, which occurred in 2000 in Uganda and amassed 425 cases and 224 deaths.

Last week, officials from the World Health Organization estimated the current outbreak could last at least another 6 months.

5 family members infected

Five of the new cases from Katwa were family members of a confirmed case-patient who died earlier this month. According the Ministry of Health, the family refused vaccination and follow-up before agreeing to be treated in a Butembo Ebola treatment center.

The single cases from Oicha and Mutwanga are related to cases from Beni, officials said.

In a positive note, the DRC said the small cluster of cases in Kanyihunga village, which is in a Mai-Mai controlled red zone, is under control.

"It has been six days since no case has been reported in this village. A total of 360 contacts were recorded in the village, of which 16 left the 21-day follow-up on Tuesday, November 20, and 172 will be out of follow-up on Friday, November 23," DRC health officials said. Other contacts will complete follow-up on Dec 5.

Vaccination efforts have now reached more than 33,000 people, the DRC said, with 16,395 of those vaccinated living in Beni.

See also:

Nov 21 DRC update

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