DRC notes 23 new Ebola cases as another hospital attacked

Ebola body on stretcher at cemetary
Ebola body on stretcher at cemetary

UN, Martine Perret / Flickr cc

Over the weekend and through today, the ministry of health in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded 23 new Ebola cases and 19 deaths, while a Katwa hospital saw a violent attack that left one of the assailants dead.

The totals swell outbreak numbers to 1,340 cases, of which 1,274 are confirmed. The number of deaths rose to 874.

Katwa hospital attack

The Katwa attack came 1 day after a hospital attack in Butembo took the life of a World Health Organization (WHO) epidemiologist deployed to the outbreak region. Both Katwa and Butembo have been hot spots of virus activity in the last several months—more than half of all cases reported in recent weeks originated in Katwa.

According to officials, the attack in Katwa took place around 3 a.m. local time on Apr 20 at the sub-coordination office located at the Katwa Reference General Hospital. Police controlled the attack, and three assailants were wounded in addition to the assailant that the police killed.

The attacks are another challenge to response efforts in the region, which have been hindered by community resistance and earlier violent attacks.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, tweeted the same day about the most recent attack.

"Appalled by another attack on health workers saving lives in DRC. The violence not only disrupts vital Ebola outbreak response but also creates risk of disease spread. Latest attack was 24 hours after Butembo and @WHO colleague's death," he said.

Eight new community deaths

Eight of the 19 deaths recorded since Apr 20 took place in the community, which raises the risk of further disease spread as family members and funeral attendees may have been exposed to the virus if an unsafe burial took place.

One of the community deaths described yesterday occurred in a 10-month old child from Beni, who died shortly after arriving in an Ebola treatment facility. The health ministry said patients who die within 24 hours of arriving at a treatment facility are classified as a community death.

As of today, the DRC said 105 suspected cases are still under investigation.

Ring vaccination with Merck's rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine continues, with 104,544 people vaccinated since Aug 8 of last year. This includes 28,056 in Katwa, 22,777 in Beni, 12,656 in Butembo, 6,740 in Mabalako, and 4,433 in Mandima.

See also

Apr 20 DRC report

Apr 21 DRC report

Apr 22 DRC report

Tedros Twitter feed

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