DRC Ebola total grows by 5, with outbreak info in flux

DR Congo Ebola health workers at laptop
DR Congo Ebola health workers at laptop

World Bank, Vincent Tremeau / Flickr cc

Amid uncertainty in notifications of new Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) related to changes in the government's outbreak management, World Health Organization (WHO) online tracking shows 5 more infections today, lifting the outbreak total to 2,597.

Yesterday, the DRC's health minister, Oly Ilunga Kalenga, MD, resigned following the DRC president's decision to shift outbreak response management to a government expert committee.

Late in the day, the health ministry released a daily report, which it said would be the last to come from the health ministry's press team. The daily detailed reports—which have covered cases, deaths, vaccination progress, security incidents, health worker infections, and other developments—have been widely praised for their detail and timeliness.

The health ministry said all future response communications will be managed directly by the office of DRC President Felix Tshisekedi.

Two more health workers infected

As expected, the ministry reported 14 more cases yesterday, 10 of them in Beni, the outbreak's current main hot spot. The others were in Mandima (2), Oicha (1), and Mutwanga (1). As of yesterday, health officials were still investigating 272 new cases.

Two of the newly confirmed cases involve health workers, one of them unvaccinated and from Beni and the other from Oicha, with an unknown vaccination status. So far, 140 health workers have been sickened in the outbreak, 41 of them fatally.

Six more people died from Ebola, including 3 in the community, raising the outbreak's fatality count to 1,743.

Beni, Mabalako epicenters again

In a weekly health emergencies and outbreaks report, the WHO's African regional office said the pace of the outbreak continues to fluctuate, and since its last report on Jul 14, 77 new cases were reported, a decline from 93 reported the previous week.

As of Jul 20, Beni and Mabalako—both of which were hot spots earlier in the outbreak—are the main active areas.

"Hotspots and associated risks continue to shift, with continued seeding to new or previously cleared areas," the WHO said in its report, adding that recent developments in Uganda and Goma show that the risk remains high for areas that border the outbreak region.

See also:

Jun 22 DRC health ministry report

WHO online Ebola dashboard

Jul 23 WHO African regional office weekly report

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