WHO: Ebola spread in DRC still 'moderate'

Ebola health worker and patient
Ebola health worker and patient

World Bank, Vincent Tremeau / Flickr cc

Today the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded two new cases and two new deaths in its ongoing Ebola outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

The new cases occurred in Mandima and Masereka, and the deaths included a community death in Masereka and a death at an Ebola treatment center in Butembo.

With the latest report, cases have reach 925, of which 860 are confirmed and 65 are probable. In total, there have been 584 deaths, and 170 suspected cases are still under investigation.

'Constant disruption' slowing response

Today the World Health Organization's (WHO's) African regional office also released its latest update on the outbreak. It includes three reports of violent encounters slowing vaccination campaigns in Katwa, Butembo, and Kalunguta.

"In Kalunguta the vaccination team was temporarily held by an armed group, and vaccination teams in the Kivika area, Katwa were subjected to aggression, with destruction of chairs, tables and tents; vaccination sites in Butembo were also inaccessible due to insecurity," the WHO said.

Despite these setbacks, the ring vaccination campaign with Merck's rVSV-ZEBOV continues. As of yesterday, a total of 87,390 people have been vaccinated, DRC health officials said, including 22,191 in Katwa, 20,829 in Beni, 10,908 in Butembo, and 6,109 in Mabalako.

"The Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo continues with moderate transmission intensity. Continuing insecurity, with response teams coming under attack are a very real concern," the WHO said. "Quite apart from the danger to personnel, this constant disruption interrupts response activities and increases the risk that chains of transmission will be missed or not followed-up."

Katwa still major hot spot

Katwa remains the major hot spot in the DRC, the WHO said, with 56% of new cases recorded in the past 21 days originating in that town. Though 20 health zones have reported cases in the outbreak, Katwa, Butembo, Mandima, Masereka, Kyondo and Lubero health zones have all reported cases within the last week.

One of the recent cases in Mandima involved a healthcare worker, bringing the total number of health workers infected in this outbreak to 73, including 25 deaths.

See also:

Mar 12 DRC report

Mar 12 WHO report

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