Butembo treatment center cleared of Ebola patients in DRC

UN trucks in North Kivu province, DR Congo
UN trucks in North Kivu province, DR Congo

MONUSCO/Koumbo SY / Flickr cc

For the first time since September 2018, the Butembo Ebola treatment center is clear of the deadly virus, as the last two patients still being treated were just released, according to the Twitter feed of Ibrahima Soce Fall, MD, the World Health Organization (WHO) assistant director-general for emergency response.

Butembo had been a hot spot of Ebola virus activity throughout the 14-month-long outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Yesterday, the DRC's Ebola technical committee (CMRE) said the two cases confirmed yesterday were from Mandima, which has been a more recent hotspot of virus activity.

Officials confirmed 4 new cases today, according to the WHO's online Ebola dashboard. The new infections raise outbreak totals to 3,224, including 2,150 deaths. Officials are still investigating 411 suspected cases.

Cases continue at low levels

From Oct 7 to Oct 14, the DRC tracked 14 Ebola cases in six health zones: Mandima, Beni, Kalunguta, Nyankunde, Lolwa, and Oicha.

According to the latest update from the WHO's regional office, 41% of cases in the past 3 weeks were from Mandima, 14% from Mambasa, and 12% from Oicha.

"The number of new confirmed cases does seem to be declining, but previous experience shows that this trend needs to be interpreted with caution," the WHO's regional office said. "Notwithstanding this, in areas where robust public health measures have succeeded, no new confirmed cases have been reported, showing that these approaches need to continue."

The case-fatality rate in the outbreak remains at 66%, with 162 health workers infected (5% of total cases).

As of yesterday, the CMRE said 237,956 people have been vaccinated with Merck's Ebola vaccine. And as the CMRE noted recently, officials will introduce a second vaccine—the one made by Johnson & Johnson—in November, after 500,000 doses are expected to arrive in the DRC on Oct 18.

See also:

Ibrahima Soce Fall Twitter feed

WHO Ebola dashboard

Oct 14 WHO African regional report

Oct 14 CMRE report

Oct 14 CIDRAP News story "As Ebola cases climb, launch of 2nd vaccine in works"

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