Over the past 4 days, 6 more Ebola cases have been confirmed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), raising the outbreak total to 3,043, including 2,035 deaths. Officials are still tracking 327 suspected cases of the viral illness.
According to the most recent reports from the DRC's multisector Ebola response committee (CMRE), cases in the past few days have come from Kalunguta and hot spots in Ituri province.
The cases were confirmed during a weekend of unrest throughout the outbreak region, including Kalunguta, where a motorcycle was burned and several people clashed with local Ebola response agents who were attempting to perform a safe and dignified burial for a patient. According to translated media reports, the conflict began when family members protested the declaration of the deceased as an Ebola patient.
In the latest update from the World Health Organization's (WHO's) African regional office, the WHO says the new "hot spot" status of Kalunguta is of highly worrisome.
"A review of key performance indicators at week 34 (19-25 August 2019) shows, in comparison with the previous week, an increase in the number of new confirmed cases, a decrease in the proportion of deaths on notification, persistence of the low proportion of new confirmed cases listed as contacts and an extension of affected health areas," the WHO said. "All these, along with the addition of Kalunguta as a hot spot area, are of grave concern."
Transmission rates have fluctuated in the most recent 3 weeks, with an increasing trend seen in the last half of August, the WHO said. Beni still saw the most Ebola activity in the past 21 days, followed by Kalunguta and Mandima.
Hospital source of Ugandan girl's infection?
In other news, the WHO's regional office also offered more details about a 9-year-old girl who died from Ebola in Uganda late last week. The girl was from Rubiriha Mazango, DRC, and presented (accompanied by her mother) to the health checkpoint in Mpondwe border crossing on Aug 28 with a high fever and other symptoms, the WHO said.
The girl died on Aug 30, and her body was repatriated to the DRC for a safe and dignified burial. Her mother and siblings have also returned to the DRC and are being followed closely.
The WHO said the girl had been sick for most of August, and in the middle of the month shared a room with an Ebola patient in a healthcare facility. Immediately prior to traveling to Uganda, the girl had been seen at another health facility in the DRC.
Uganda does not anticipate any more Ebola cases connected to this patient, the WHO said.
WHO Ebola dashboard
CMRE Twitter feed
Sep 2 Radio Moto report
Sep 1 WHO regional update