Ebola case identified near South Sudan border

Ebola PPE decontamination
Ebola PPE decontamination

World Bank, Vincent Tremeau / Flickr cc

An Ebola case-patient has been identified just 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC) border with South Sudan, the Associate Press (AP) reported today. The story cited South Sudan's health ministry as the source of information.

Officials said the case is a contact of a known Ebola patient from Beni.

Last month, a 5-year-old boy found in Uganda became the first international case of Ebola in this 11-month long outbreak that has otherwise stayed confined to the DRC’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces. Uganda had in place for months an extensive surveillance and response protocol for Ebola border crossings, but officials in South Sudan told the AP they were not as prepared for the virus.

16 new DRC cases

Today the DRC health ministry confirmed another 16 new cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), raising outbreak totals to 2,354. Officials also confirmed 15 new case deaths, raising the fatality total to 1,586. A total of 402 suspected cases are under investigation.

Yesterday marked the first time a case has been confirmed in Ariwara health zone, which is located in Ituri province. The Ariwara patient is a mother of five sickened children, who traveled to Ariwara from Beni to hide from surveillance teams. Today the DRC confirmed she had died from the virus.

"To date, 177 family contacts have been listed in Ariwara and 40 contacts have already been vaccinated," the DRC said yesterday.

Today the DRC said an unvaccinated health worker in Beni is among the newly confirmed cases. This lifts the total number of healthcare workers infected to 127, including 40 deaths. Health workers represent 5% of cases in this outbreak.

WHO describes 'fluctuating' intensity

"New EVD cases continue to occur in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, with continued fluctuating transmission intensity, reducing in previous hotspots, but increasing in areas with previously relatively low transmission rates," the World Health Organization's (WHO's) African regional office said yesterday in a weekly bulletin on the outbreak.

In the last 21 days, Mabalako, Beni and Mandima have been the main hotspots, with 33%, 24%, and 9% of newly confirmed cases. Transmission in these towns outpaces transmission in Katwa and Butembo, the main hotspots for the first half of 2019.

The WHO's regional office also highlighted the number of investigations currently undertaken in the DRC, including more than 16,000 case contacts followed up daily, and more than 1,500 alerts assessed in the past week, resulting in 309 suspected cases.

See also:

Jul 2 AP story

Jul 2 DRC update

Jul 1 DRC update

Jul 1 WHO bulletin

This week's top reads