USAID pledges Ebola support as 15 new cases reported

Ebola virus particles
Ebola virus particles

Ebola virus particles (in green)., NIAID

Today the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will likely confirmed 15 new cases of Ebola virus in an 11-month-long outbreak that persists despite an effective vaccine and a robust surveillance system.

The 15 cases were noted in the World Health Organization's (WHO's) online Ebola dashboard, which has accurately reflected what DRC officials later confirm each day. If confirmed the new illnesses will raise outbreak totals to 2,369 cases.

Meanwhile, a key US government agency pledged millions to support response efforts.

Two thirds of patients die

Today the WHO released its latest situation report on the outbreak, which is concentrated in the DRC's North Kivu and Ituri provinces. Though transmission has eased in Butembo and Katwa, Beni, Mabalako, and Mandima have seen a spike of cases in recent weeks.

WHO also noted a "concurrent increase in the number of new cases occurring in areas that  previously had lower rates of transmission, such as the  Komanda, Lubero, and  Rwampara/Bunia health zones."

The case-fatality rate is 67%, 56% of patients are female, and 29% of cases have affected children.

As of Jun 30, more than 18,000 case contacts have been followed, representing an 89% follow-up rate, the WHO said.

Kenya today said it was stepping up its surveillance along the Kenya-Uganda border, according to a Standard story yesterday. Last week, a Congolese boy and his family because the first international cases in this outbreak when their illnesses were detected in Uganda.

Yesterday, the Associated Press reported a confirmed case near the South Sudan-DRC border.

USAID pledges $98 million

Yesterday USAID (United States Agency for International Development) announced it would give the DRC $98 million to help fight the outbreak.

"With this funding, USAID is providing lifesaving assistance, including infection prevention and control activities, training for health care workers, community engagement interventions, promotion of safe and dignified burials, and food assistance for people and communities affected by Ebola. This assistance is also bolstering preparedness efforts in Goma city for communities at risk of Ebola," the agency said in a press release.

No American personnel have been on the ground in DRC since last September, when they were removed because of threats of violence.

See also:

Jul 3 WHO situation report

WHO Ebola dashboard

Jul 3 Standard article

Jul 2 USAID press release

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