Over the weekend and through today the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reported 23 new Ebola cases, 2 of them in healthcare workers and one involving a reintroduction of the virus into an earlier affected area.
In a related development, a snapshot from the World Health Organization (WHO) African regional office notes a continued decline in weekly cases, which it says is encouraging.
New cases in 8 locations
The 23 new cases are in Mabalako (8), Mandima (4), Butembo (3), Beni (2), Katwa (2), Musienene (2), Mangurujipa (1), and Rwampara (1).
The infections lift the overall outbreak total to 2,062 cases, which includes 1,968 confirmed and 94 probable cases.
Seventeen more people died from Ebola, boosting the outbreak's fatality count to 1,390. Six of the deaths occurred in community settings, a factor that greatly increases the risk of virus transmission, and 11 occurred at Ebola treatment centers.
In its Jun 8 report, the health ministry said the case in Rwampara, a health zone in Ituri province, involves a community death of a mother whose child died from Ebola in Oicha in early May. The woman had not been vaccinated and wasn't followed. When her symptoms began, a traditional healer treated her for poisoning.
The patient was admitted to a health post a few days later, and while being transferred to another health center at the request of her family the woman died. Outbreak responders were able to conduct a safe and dignified burial, DRC officials said.
The cases involving healthcare workers are in Mabalako. One worker is a vaccinated nurse who agreed to be taken to an Ebola treatment center after she tested positive for Ebola, marking the second case at the same clinic following the admission of several Ebola patients. The other is also a vaccinated health worker, raising the cumulative number of cases in healthcare workers to 113.
Declining trend continues
In its regular weekly update on emergencies and outbreaks, the WHO African regional office said today that the week ending Jun 8 marked another decline in cases, part of a pattern in recent weeks. It said 62 cases were confirmed over the past week, compared with 82 the previous week.
WHO officials attributed some of the drop in cases to improved security and better access to communities, though vandalism in Komanda shuttered the Ebola testing lab and demonstrations by motorcycle taxi drivers left the lab in Beni partly functional.
Mabalako, Butembo, and Katwa are still the main hot spots, though several other areas remain points of concern, the report said.
The decline is encouraging and highlights the commitment of local and national health officials, as well as their partners, the WHO said, noting that community mobilization activities combined with proven public health measures need to continue to keep the momentum going and bring the outbreak to a close.
Jun 8 DRC update
Jun 9 DRC update
Jun 10 DRC update
Jun 9 WHO Africa regional office report