Over the weekend, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has recorded 28 new cases of Ebola and will probably confirm 20 more cases today. With nearly 50 cases in 3 days, the epidemic is experiencing a new spike in activity after case finding in neighboring Uganda last week.
According to the Ebola scorecard from the World Health Organization (WHO), the total number of outbreaks stands at 2,168 people.
In addition to new confirmed cases, 19 people died over the weekend, including 8 in the community.
A total of 1,440 people died during this epidemic that began last August in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri. 319 other suspected cases are under investigation.
The new cases come from known hot spots, including 11 in Mabalako, 4 in Katwa and Mandima, 3 in Kalunguta, 2 in Butembo and 1 in Lubero, Beni, Rwampara and Musienene.
Immunization of the ring begins in Uganda
The DRC confirmed at the end of last week that the 3-year-old brother of the Ugandan index case – a 5-year-old boy traveling from DRC Uganda with his family – had died of an Ebola virus at his arrival at Ebola treatment center in Beni.
At that time, Uganda had extradited all members of the family of boys, some Congolese and others Ugandan, to the DRC. The family was crossing the border between the two countries to attend the funeral of the boys' grandfather, who died of an Ebola virus in Mabalako.
Over the weekend, Ugandan Minister of Health, Jane Ruth Aceng, announced on Twitter that a vaccine had been launched in Kasese District, Uganda, involving 43 initial contacts. Unvaccinated front-line health workers and other workers were also vaccinated.
Today, the Director General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is in Uganda to meet with the Ministry of Health and discuss the response to Ebola. Over the weekend, Tedros visited Ebola treatment centers and vaccination clinics in the DRC.
His visits followed the decision taken last week by a WHO emergency committee to refrain from recommending a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) for the third time. WHO experts, including Tedros, said the decision had been made because the overall risk of international spread was low and that a PHEIC designation could further damage the DRC's economy.
Two infected health workers
Yesterday, the DRC Ministry of Health announced that two health workers, one at Rwampara and one at Musienene, had recently been diagnosed with Ebola. The two workers refused vaccination with Merck's VSV-EBOV, the unlicensed Ebola vaccine currently used in the region.
The health worker from Musienene has died in the community, officials said. The two new cases bring to 118 the total number of health workers infected during this epidemic, including 39 deaths. Health workers account for 5.5% of all cases diagnosed since last August.
Yesterday, 135,395 people in the DRC and neighboring countries were vaccinated with the Merck vaccine.
WHO Ebola Dashboard
June 15 update of the DRC
June 16 update of the DRC
Jane Ruth Aceng Twitter food
June 14 CIDRAP News "WHO experts say again that the Ebola virus is not a global health emergency"