Ebola cases grow by 9, including 1 in new area

Woman and baby in DR Congo
Woman and baby in DR Congo

UN photo, Sylvain Liechti / Flickr cc

Today the Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC's) ministry of health recorded 9 new cases of Ebola, including 1 case in Manguredjipa, a newly affected health zone and the 17th in the ongoing outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

The new cases bring the outbreak total to 658, with 609 cases confirmed and 402 deaths. Two hundred cases are still under investigation, which is up from 121 yesterday.

The case in Manguredjipa is linked to an outbreak in the Aloya health area of the Mabalako health zone, DRC officials said.

Six new deaths; vaccinations top 60,000

Since yesterday, 6 new deaths were recorded, including 5 community deaths. These types of deaths take place outside a healthcare or treatment center setting and thus increase the risk of community transmission.

The ring vaccination campaign has now reached 60,460 people, including 19,952 in Beni, 12,590 in Katwa, 6,746 in Butembo, and 5,741 in Mabalako.

The ministry of health also said that efforts began yesterday to rebuild a community health center in Rwangoma that was destroyed during the election protests held in the last week of December. The rehabilitation was funded by community donations.

Ten health districts still active

On Twitter, Peter Salama, MD, the World Health Organization's deputy director-general for emergency preparedness and response, said the outbreak is likely active in 10 of the 17 affected health zones, with cases in Beni and Mangina on the decline. 

According to epidemiologic graphs, Mabalako and Mandima were the first outbreak epicenters in late July and August, and Beni saw the most cases through the fall months. Recently, Butembo and Katwa have seen more cases.

"The Ebola outbreak in DRC is really several distinct outbreaks in the different affected areas. This means (1) interpreting overall epidemiological trends is complex, and (2) the response has to be adapted to the very different contexts in each area. We can't 'cut and paste,' " Salama said.

See also:

Jan 15 DRC update

Peter Salama Twitter feed

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