Last DRC Ebola contacts approach end of monitoring period
No new lab-confirmed Ebola infections were reported from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) over the past 3 days, though surveillance workers continue to report more suspected cases from the remote hot spots, while tests rule out earlier suspected cases.
The DRC's health ministry said today that as of yesterday, two new suspected cases were reported, one from Bikoro and the other from Iboko. Tests on four previously reported suspected cases were negative, bringing the overall outbreak total to 55 cases, 38 of them confirmed, 14 probable, and 3 suspected. The number of deaths remains at 28.
The illness onset from the last confirmed case was Jun 2, and the monitoring period for the patient's contacts is winding down. In its update today, the health ministry said the 21-day monitoring period for the last patients will end on Jun 27. A Jun 22 situation report from the World Health Organization (WHO) said as of Jun 20, 1,527 contacts had completed their follow-up periods, and only 179 were still being monitored.
Vaccination continues in the affected outbreak areas, and so far 3,280 have been immunized with the experimental Ebola vaccine VSV-EBOV. Most of the people vaccinated are from the two hardest hit areas, Bikoro and Iboko, both in a heavily forested area of Equateur Province.
Jun 25 DRC health ministry daily Ebola update
Jun 22 WHO situation report
In research developments, the Journal of Infectious Diseases today published several reports on Ebola. For example, a team that conducted a literature review of epidemiologic research and social and behavioral research published during West Africa's Ebola outbreak developed a roadmap for integrating the two areas to improve research efforts in future outbreaks. They said their findings support an action plan that involves data collection on community attitudes, behavior, and responses in real time.
Meanwhile, another study explored antibody response in nonhuman primates vaccinated with different Ebola vaccine platforms in an effort to understand more about correlates of protection, while another group reported the results of cell-culture screening for 12 possible Ebola treatments, which found multiple synergistic pairs.
Jun 25 J Infect Dis literature review
Jun 25 J Infect Dis report on Ebola antibody response in primates
Jun 25 J Infect Dis report on cell-culture Ebola drug combination testing
Tests confirm polio outbreak in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea's national health department and the WHO confirmed an ongoing outbreak of vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (VDPV1) in Morobe Province.
So far, the outbreak contains one confirmed case in a 6-year-old boy, who experienced lower limb weakness at the end of April. Lab testing confirmed VDPV1 as the cause of the boy's acute flaccid paralysis.
"The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the same virus was also isolated from stool specimens of two healthy children from the same community. This means that the virus is circulating in the community—representing an outbreak of the virus," the WHO said.
Polio vaccine coverage is low in Morobe, with only 61% of children having received the recommended 3 doses of polio vaccine, the WHO said. In rare instances in undervaccinated populations vaccine-derived polioviruses can linger in communities, allowing it to acquire genetic changes genetic changes that can cause paralysis. Papua New Guinea hasn't reported a polio case since 1996 and the country and the rest of the WHO's Western Pacific region were certified as polio free in 2000.
A catch-up vaccination program is under way; to date, 845 children under the age of 15 have been vaccinated.
Jun 25 WHO press release