Ebola cases rise by 13, with spread in insecure and border areas

Ebola community outreach
Ebola community outreach

Anna Dubuis, DFID / Flickr cc

Ebola transmission in the affected Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) region is still substantial, with new hot spots emerging in areas with limited access and security problems, posing more challenges for response teams, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today in its weekly snapshot of the outbreak.

Meanwhile, the country reported 13 new infections today, boosting the overall outbreak total to 3,069 cases.

Signs of easing in Beni, clusters emerging elsewhere

Since the WHO's last update on Aug 29, the DRC reported 57 new cases, with intensity of transmission still substantial, according to the group's latest update.

Some hot spots such as Beni show signs of cooling off, but the WHO said concerns are growing about emerging clusters in Kalunguta, Mandima, and Mambasa health zones—areas where access is limited and security problems persist. The WHO said response activities in those areas have been somewhat hindered.

Another worry is sustained transmission in areas that pose a risk of regional spread. Those include Mutwanga and Kayna health zones, which are on the shores of Lake Edward and are on the border with Uganda.

Underscoring that threat was an Ebola case confirmed in a child last week who was exposed and got sick in Mutwanga health zone. Her illness was identified at an entry point as she and her mother tried to seek medical care in Uganda. The girl, whose illness marked Uganda's fourth imported case, died from her infection on Aug 30.

The WHO said a limited number of the girl's contacts are under surveillance, and so far no further Ebola cases have been detected in Uganda.

Overall, the DRC's outbreak still faces several challenges, including continued insecurity, unrest, pockets of community resistance, and funding shortfalls, the WHO said. It added that it expects more transmission chains in affected areas owing to a host of factors, including a high proportion of community deaths, a relatively low proportion of cases involving known contacts, delays in detection, nosocomial exposure, and problems accessing some communities.

Double-digit increase in cases

Today the WHO's online dashboard showed 13 new confirmed Ebola cases in the DRC, as well as the addition of 2 more probable cases, boosting the overall total to 3,069 cases. Investigations are still under way into 405 suspected Ebola cases.

Also, 2 more people died from their infections, putting the outbreak's overall fatality count at 2,052.

The DRC's multisector Ebola response committee (CMRE) posted a few more details today on the five cases reported yesterday, once each in Butembo, Kalunguta, Mutwanga, Mambasa, and Mandima. And of two deaths reported yesterday, one occurred in a community setting, which increases the risk of virus transmission.

See also:

Sep 6 WHO update

WHO online Ebola dashboard

Sep 5 CMRE update

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