News Scan for Apr 14, 2020

News brief

DRC confirms third case of Ebola in Beni in recent days

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has confirmed a third Ebola case in a transmission chain linked to a health clinic in Beni. The patient is a 7-year-old girl.

The new cases first emerged over the weekend after 52 days—more than 7 weeks—with no new infections in the 18-month-long outbreak in the DRC. According to Reuters, all three of the new case-patients had visited the Horizon Healthcare Centre in Beni, one of the main virus hot spots in the country's northeastern provinces.

The World Health Organization (WHO) today said the resurgence of cases means the situation in the DRC continues to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

"Flare-ups are expected at the tail-end of Ebola outbreaks. Our teams in Beni are experienced in responding to new cases, and acted quickly to engage with affected communities, investigate alerts, identify and vaccinate contacts, decontaminate affected homes and health facilities, and send samples for sequencing," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD.

To date, the DRC has recorded 3,457 Ebola cases, including 2,277 deaths, in the outbreak, which is the second-largest ever recorded. In the other two cases announced this week, both patients—a 26-year-old man and an 11 year-old girl—died at home, according to an Apr 12 WHO Africa regional update.
Apr 13 Reuters article
Apr 14 WHO statement
Apr 12 WHO Africa


WHO warns of pandemic-related measles vaccination delays

More than 117 million children across 37 countries may miss out on measles vaccination, because immunization campaigns have already been delayed in 24 countries owing to COVID-19 surges, according to a statement today from the WHO and its global health partners, including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a joint statement, the Measles and Rubella Initiative expressed solidarity in the fight against COVID-19 and that the battle against the pandemic requires a coordinated effort. "At the same time, we must also champion efforts to protect essential immunization services, now and for the future," it said.

In March the WHO has issued guidance to help countries sustain immunization during the pandemic, which include temporarily pausing activities in areas where there are no active outbreaks. The agency also urges governments to do a careful risk-benefit analysis when weighing delays.
Apr 14 WHO joint statement
Mar 26 WHO guidelines on immunization during COVID-19


H5N6 avian flu strikes more poultry in Vietnam

Vietnam reported 10 more highly pathogenic H5N6 avian flu outbreaks in poultry, all involving village birds, according to an Apr 11 notification from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The outbreaks began from Feb 25 to Apr 2, affecting birds in 10 provinces in the north. Nghe An and Bac Ninh each reported two outbreaks, and these reported one: Hoa Binh, Ha Nam, Ninh Binh, Ha Noi, Nam Dinh, and Tuyen Quang.

Taken together, the virus killed 2,221 of 23,718 susceptible birds, and the rest were slated for culling. Vietnam has reported other sporadic H5N6 outbreaks over the cold-weather months.
Apr 11 OIE report

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