Thursday, January 24, 2019

With 14 More Cases, DRC Ebola Outbreak Tops 700
Stephanie Soucheray
News Reporter
Jan 23, 2019

Today the ministry of health in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reported 14 newly confirmed cases of Ebola, which lifts outbreak totals to 713, including 439 deaths. Officials are still investigating 203 cases.

Of the newly confirmed cases, 9 were recorded in Katwa, 2 in Mangurujipa, and 1 each in Biena, Butembo, and Kayina. Among 6 newly recorded deaths, 4 took place in the community, which increases the risk of transmission.

Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) published its latest situation report on the outbreak. The WHO notes that 13 of 18 health zones identified in the outbreak are active, meaning there has been at least 1 confirmed case recorded in the past 21 days.

"Trends in case incidence reflect the continuation of the outbreak across a geographically widely dispersed area with a decline in the number of cases in Beni and increase of reported cases, especially in Katwa," the WHO said.

WHO: 15% of cases in young kids

The WHO situation report included updated information about the number of children infected in this outbreak, as cases among newborns and pregnant women are still being recorded. Roughly 6% of cases have occurred in children under the age of 1, and 15% under the age of 5.

Women make up 62% of patients, a high rate but not uncommon in Ebola outbreaks. In an interview with CIDRAP last week, Peter Salama, MD, the WHO's deputy director-general for emergency preparedness and response, said women often attend funerals more than men and tend to care for children and other sick family members, making them more at risk for transmission.

The case-fatality rate among confirmed cases is 59%, a number that drops to 38% among confirmed cases who are hospitalized at an Ebola treatment center, the WHO said.

The WHO said screening continues at points of entry surrounding North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

As of Jan 20, the WHO said more than 27 million traveler screenings had been carried out at 78 points of entry, resulting in 175 alerts and 4 suspect cases later confirmed as Ebola cases.

Contact tracing, vaccination continue

Contact tracing also continues, with approximately 42,500 contacts registered to date and 5,514 currently under surveillance. At least 75% of those contacts have been followed in the past week.

According to the DRC, as of today, 65,172 people have been vaccinated in an ongoing ring vaccination campaign with Merck's unlicensed Ebola vaccine, including 20,140 in Beni, 14,456 in Katwa, and 7,454 in Butembo.

On Twitter today, Salama said the WHO was consulting today on study designs meant to generate evidence for other candidate Ebola vaccines. The consultation is hosted by the Wellcome Trust.

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