Because Crof does such a fine job of covering outbreaks in Africa, and I've had so many other topics to blog about the past few weeks, I haven't devoted as much time as I'd like to the latest Ebola outbreak in the DRC.
Epidemiological update: Ebola virus disease outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces, Democratic Republic of the Congo
11 Sep 2018
Since 11 May and as of 8 September 2018, 131 Ebola cases were reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), of which 100 are confirmed and 31 probable. Among the 131 cases, 90 had a fatal outcome. Eight health zones in two provinces have reported confirmed and probable EVD cases, including Mabalako, Beni, Butembo, Oicha, Masereka, Kalungata and Musienene health zones in North Kivu Province and Mandima Health Zone in Ituri Province.
According to the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Operations (ECHO), as of 9 September 2018, 2 009 contacts have been identified (685 in Mabalako, 595 in Beni, 170 in Mandima, 89 in Oicha and 289 in Butembo) and 75.1% of contacts were followed up. Regarding vaccination, 7 390 people have been vaccinated (3 475 in Mabalako, 2 190 in Beni, 1 207 in Mandima, 152 in Masereka, 167 in Butembo, 70 in Katwa, 121 in Oicha, and 19 in Kinshasa).
Additional cases in Butembo city would be of concern as this city has more than one million inhabitants ant it is a commercial and travel hub between DRC and Uganda. So far, two probable cases and one confirmed case have been reported in Butembo as of 8 September.
This situation has the potential for new chains of transmission if not rapidly controlled. In addition, the implementation of outbreak control measures may be affected by the security situation and the humanitarian crisis in the North Kivu province.
According to WHO, the large number of internally displaced persons and the influx of Congolese refugees in neighbouring countries pose a risk factor for transmission of the virus at national and regional level.
The risk of introduction of the virus via an infected traveller to the EU/EEA is considered very low at this stage, see ECDC’s rapid risk assessment
For more on this recent introduction of Ebola into the Butembo City, we have the following report from WHO's African Regional Office (AFRO).
Ebola strikes big city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and WHO scales up response to new threat
It’s been a little over a month since the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was declared by the Ministry of Health. In the hotspot of Mangina, which is a rural community much progress has been made, but a new case in the city of Butembo is raising concern.
Dr Ibrahima Socé Fall, WHO Africa Emergencies Director visited Mangina, where many of the first confirmed cases originated and found the work done by the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other partners impressive.
He said, “Now everything is working very well. You can see the number of cases in Mangina is going down on a daily basis. We need to continue the same effort to make sure that all cases are controlled in Mangina.”
However, about 90 km away in the bustling city of Butembo with a population of around one million, a new case was confirmed on 4 September by health authorities. The case is the mother of a woman who died of Ebola in Beni, which is close to Mangina.
Dr Fall said, “Butembo is the new hotspot. It’s important for the response to be quick and strong, combining all the key components, with strong community mobilization to stop the virus from spreading in this new hotspot.”
Butembo is a major trading centre, with a highly mobile population that comes from not only other parts of the DRC, but also from neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda and even as far away as Kenya.
Managing an outbreak of Ebola is challenging, but the security situation in North Kivu creates new complexities, often hampering access to high risk communities.
While I hope to devote more time to this outbreak, for now your best source for daily coverage of events in the DRC are Crofsblog and the dedicated newshounds at FluTrackers.