According to the World Health Organization's (WHO's) Ebola dashboard, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) saw five more Ebola cases in the past 2 days. The outbreak total now stands at 3,382, including 2,232 deaths. Health officials are still investigating 410 suspected cases.
Virus activity is still high in Mabalako, Butembo, and Katwa. In a Disease Outbreak News update published today, the WHO said three of four cases reported in Butembo in the past 2 weeks are linked to a transmission chain of more than 50 people that originated in Aloya Health Area, Mabalako Health Zone.
That chain was amplified by a person who experienced a relapse of Ebola, and infected several family members.
The WHO also said five recent cases in Kalunguta, reported between Dec 24 and 28, are a distinct epidemiologically linked chain of transmission.
In total there were 29 new Ebola cases documented between Dec 18 and 31 in the DRC, with 62% of cases from Mabalako, 14% from Butembo, and 17% from Kalunguta. The WHO said as of Dec 31, women represented 56% of cases, and 28% of cases were children under the age of 18. A total of 168 healthcare workers have been infected during this outbreak, which began in August of 2018.
Vaccination resistance, another attack
The WHO’s African regional office, in an update earlier this week, noted persistent resistance to vaccination in the towns and villages with active transmission. On Dec 28, health officials from the WHO met with 15 village chiefs from Nyankunde Health Zone to begin a dialogue on response activities.
In addition to community hesitation, the outbreak region is still battling violence, with a triage health station in Oicha targeted on Christmas Eve, and several threats made in the Biakato Mines area.
"New confirmed cases continue to be reported, particularly in Mabalako health zone, while disruption to response activities continues. Response activities have been upscaled wherever possible to try to break this resurgence in transmission," the WHO said.
WHO Ebola dashboard
Jan 2 WHO Disease Outbreak News report
Dec 29 WHO African regional office update