News Scan for Oct 14, 2021

Second DRC Ebola case
Zika outbreaks in India
Yellow fever in Venezuela
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DRC confirms second Ebola case, per media report

A second Ebola case has been confirmed in the latest outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a city health official from the city of Beni told Reuters.

The latest case involves a 42-year-old woman who tested positive yesterday, according to Michel Tosalisana, the health official from Beni, where a cluster of cases was recently reported. They include a 2-year-old boy, whose fatal illness was confirmed, and three suspected cases—the boy's neighbors—who died earlier after experiencing similar symptoms.

Beni was one of the epicenters in a large outbreak in North Kivu province that occurred from 2018 to 2020. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that sporadic recurrent cases are expected, given Ebola persistence in some survivors and that animal species found in the DRC harbor the virus.

So far, it's not clear if the latest flare-up is linked to earlier human cases. North Kivu province experienced a smaller recurrence earlier this year that appeared to be linked to the large event, though the source of the outbreak was never found. Genetic sequencing is under way on samples from the boy who died, with results expected this week.

Yesterday, health officials launched an Ebola vaccination campaign in Beni targeting the boy's contacts and the contacts of those contacts.
Oct 14 Reuters story
Oct 11 CIDRAP News story
Oct 13 CIDRAP News scan


Zika outbreaks reported in 2 Indian states

The WHO today detailed Zika outbreaks in two Indian states, Kerala and Maharashtra, with no cases of microcephaly (undersized head in infants) or Guillain-Barre syndrome reported so far in either event.

Kerala state in in southwest India, and Maharashtra state is in the northwestern part of the country. The cases are the first for both states, though India has reported Zika virus before.

The first case in Kerala's outbreak was confirmed in early July, and is the state's first. The patient is a 24-year-old woman pregnant woman from Trivandrum district. Retrospective testing in 19 patients and staff who had similar symptoms in May revealed positive findings for 13 patients, hinting that the virus had been circulating in Kerala state since May.

Active case finding and passive surveillance involving 590 blood samples in July yielded 70 positive samples, all involving people who lived in or had visited Trivandrum district.

In late July, health officials from Maharashtra state reported the first lab-confirmed case in Belsar, a village in Pune district. The initial case involved a 50-year-old woman who tested positive for both Zika and chikungunya. Of 51 samples collected from village residents with suspected infections, 40 were negative, and results for the other 11 are pending.

The WHO said three Indian states had reported Zika cases in 2018: Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. All involved the Southeast Asian lineage, and no microcephaly cases were associate with the country's earlier cases. The agency added that more outbreaks aren't surprising, given the wide distribution of the mosquito vector in the two states, though it's notable that this is the first time cases have been confirmed in the locations.
Oct 14 WHO statement


Officials detail yellow fever outbreak in Venezuela

A yellow fever outbreak near a rural city in northeastern Venezuela has resulted in seven cases, the WHO said yesterday, based on reports from the country's health officials.

The outbreak is centered south of the city of Maturin in Monagas state. Of 7 confirmed case-patients, 3 were asymptomatic and 4 had symptoms that began from Sep 20 to Sep 24. The initial case is in a young pregnant woman who was vaccinated, but the other 6 were unvaccinated. No deaths have been reported.

Since Aug 11, Venezuela has detected 10 yellow fever outbreaks (epizootics) involving monkeys, including 2 not far from Maturin.

The WHO said Venezuela is a high-risk country for yellow fever and vaccination coverage is suboptimal, posing a threat of onward transmission and virus amplification. It added that the increased number of human cases and epizootics is concerning due to the persistence of high viral circulation. Monagas state has a 67.7% yellow fever vaccine coverage, suggesting that the population remains at risk.

The outbreak is occurring against the complex healthcare backdrop of COVID-19–related disruptions on the healthcare system, including an extra burden on lab capacity.
Oct 13 WHO statement

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