Last night, rebel forces burned an Ebola treatment center at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Katwa, forcing MSF to evacuate patients and its staff. The attack, coupled with new cases recorded in the city this weekend, has made Katwa the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
"Such attacks could negate the progress we have made, and despite this setback, we will continue to work with the government, partners and communities to end this epidemic," the executive director of the World Health Organization said on Twitter. World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Morning.
According to Reuters, MSF today announced on Twitter that the treatment center was closed. Today, the Ministry of Health announced that a nurse had died while she was trying to escape the fire, but the 10 patients housed in the center had all relocated to a treatment center.
This attack is the last setback of Ebola response efforts. Since the beginning of the epidemic last August, several rebel groups have attacked health workers and clinics and spread misinformation about vaccination and Ebola transmission.
13 new cases in 3 days
Over the weekend and up to today, the DRC has recorded 13 new cases of Ebola, 8 in Katwa and 5 in Butembo. Katwa has now surpassed Beni as having the most cases during this epidemic. Twelve people were also registered, including five in the community in Katwa.
"Katwa remains the main focus of the epidemic.In the last 21 days, 86 new confirmed cases have been reported, including 49 (57%) in Katwa," said the DRC health ministry in its update bulletin published yesterday.
"Katwa has exceeded Beni in terms of the number of cases and deaths, so far, Beni has reported 235 cases (226 confirmed and 9 probable) and 127 deaths, compared to 289 (228 confirmed and 11 probable) and 182 deaths."
The case fatality rate in Katwa was also significantly higher than in Beni, 76% versus 54%. Health officials said the difference was attributed to the higher percentage of deaths in the community and refusal of vaccination in Katwa.
"This situation demonstrates the importance of increasing community engagement and active case finding in the Katwa community and health facilities," the ministry said.
The new cases increase the total number of outbreaks to 872, of which 807 are confirmed and 65 are probable. There were also 548 deaths and 176 suspected cases are still under investigation.
Since the beginning of the outbreak, 83,517 people have been vaccinated against rVSV-ZEBOV during a ring vaccination campaign, including 21,357 in Katwa and 20,613 in Beni.
Phase 1 vaccine trials
Currently, only unlicensed rVSV-ZEBOV software from Merck has been licensed for use in the DRC. But today Infectious Diseases Journal has published two Phase 1 trials of preferred-action Ebola vaccines, Ad26.ZEBOV, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, and MVA-BN-Filo, manufactured by Bavarian Nordic.
Both vaccines were well tolerated and immunogenic up to one year in healthy volunteers from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Twitter feed
February 25 story of Reuters
February 25 update of the DRC
February 24 update of the DRC
February 23 update of the DRC
February 23 J Infect Dis Kenya Study
February 23 J Infect Dis Study in Uganda and Tanzania