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Latest News May 14, 2017

May 14, 2017

news From All Africa

  • WHO Regional Director for Africa travels to Kinshasa to discuss Ebola outbreak response

    The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti today visited Kinshasa (DR Congo) to discuss with national authorities and partners ways to mount a rapid, effective and coherent response in order to stop the ongoing Ebola outbreak.
     

    The visit follows notification by the DRC Government of an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Likati health zone, Bas Uele Province, in the northern part of the country bordering Central African Republic.  The Likati health zone is around 1400 kilometers from the capital. As of today, 11 suspected cases including 3 deaths have been reported.

    Speaking at the meeting, Dr Moeti said: “I am here to assure the government of DR Congo that in collaboration with the UN system and other partners, we will work together to respond to this outbreak. WHO has already mobilized technical experts to be deployed on the ground and is ready to provide the leadership and technical expertise required to mount a coordinated and effective response. I encourage to public to work with the health authorities and take the necessary preventive measures to protect their health.”

    On 10 May 2017, a multidisciplinary team led by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and supported by WHO, under the new WHO Emergency Programme, and partners, was deployed to the Likati health zone, Bas Uele Province to conduct an in-depth field investigation. The health zone is situated in the remote, isolated and hard-to-reach northern part of the country, with limited transport and communication networks – factors that all impeded transmission of information about the suspected outbreak. Currently it takes about 2-3 days to reach the epicenter from Kinshasa.

    The Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) has been activated to provide additional support if required. Reinforcement of epidemiological surveillance, contact tracing, case management, and community engagement are under way.

    “We are grateful to WHO and other partners for the swift support in carrying out investigations that led to the confirmation of this outbreak,” said Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga, the Minister of Health of DR Congo. “A strong multi-sectoral response, better coordination, public awareness, community engagement and adequate resources will be critical in our efforts to stop the outbreak,” he added.

    The first case occurred on 22 April in a 45-year-old male. He was transported by taxi to hospital and was dead on arrival. The driver also fell ill and later died. A third person who cared for the first case also became ill and has subsequently died. At present, 25 contacts of the second patient who died are being followed. Of the cases and deaths, 1 has been tested PCR-positive for Ebola
     
    This is the eighth outbreak of Ebola virus disease since its discovery in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. On 20 November 2014, in line with WHO recommendations, the Ministry of Health of DRC and WHO declared the end of the Ebola Virus disease outbreak that started on 24 August 2014 and resulted in a total of 38 laboratory confirmed cases and 28 probable cases including 49 deaths in Boende, Equateur province.

    •      2014:  66 cases of EVD including 49 deaths diagnosed initially in Equateur province (Watsi Kengo, Lokolia, Boende, and Boende Muke)
    •      2012:  62 cases including 34 deaths Orientale Province -Isiro (Bundibugyo virus)
    •      2008-2009: 32 cases including 15 deaths in Kasaï-Occidental (Zaire virus)
    •      2007:  264 cases including 187 deaths in Kasaï-Occidental (Zaire virus)
    •      1995:  317 cases including 245 deaths, in Kikwit, Bandundu Province
    •      1977:  1 case with 1 death in Tandala, Equateur Province
    •      1976:  318 cases including 280 deaths in Yambuku – (Zaire virus)
     
    The full extent of the 2017 outbreak is still not yet clear. Extensive investigation and risk assessments are being conducted and the findings will be communicated accordingly. WHO does not recommend any restriction of travel and trade to DRC based on the currently available information.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO).

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  • Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo – Disease outbreak news

    On 9 May 2017, WHO was informed of a cluster of undiagnosed illness and deaths including haemorrhagic symptoms in Likati Health Zone, Bas Uele Province in the north of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), bordering Central African Republic. Since 22 April, nine cases including three deaths have been reported. Six cases are currently hospitalized.

    On 11 May 2017, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of DRC informed WHO that of the five samples collected from suspected cases, one tested positive by RT-PCR for Ebola virus subtype Zaire at the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) in Kinshasa. Additional specimens are currently being tested and results, including sequencing, are awaited to describe the outbreak.

    On 10 May 2017, a multidisciplinary team led by the MoH and supported by WHO and partners was deployed to the field and are expected to reach the affected area on 12 or 13 May 2017 to conduct an in depth field investigation.

    The investigation is currently ongoing and information is available for only three of the suspected cases: The first case (and possibly the index case), a 39-year-old male presented onset of symptoms on 22 April 2017 and deceased on arrival at the health facility. He presented with haematuria, epistaxis, bloody diarrhoea, and haematemesis. Two contacts of this case are being investigated: a person who took care of him during transport to the health care facility (he has since developed similar symptoms) and a moto-taxi driver (deceased) who transported the patient to the health care facility.

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health care workers has been shipped on 12 May 2017 to Kisangani. Additional kits are currently being prepared and will be shipped as soon as available.

    Background and epidemiological situation

    On 20 November 2014, as per WHO recommendations, the MoH of DRC and WHO declared the end of the EVD outbreak that started on 24 August 2014 and resulted in a total of 38 laboratory confirmed cases and 28 probable case including 49 deaths in Boende, Equateur province. This was the seventh outbreak of EVD since its discovery in 1976 in DRC.

    • 2014: 66 cases of EVD including 49 deaths diagnosed initially in Equateur province (Watsi Kengo, Lokolia, Boende, and Boende Muke).
    • 2012: 36 cases including 13 deaths Orientale province – Isiro (Bundibugyo virus).
    • 2008–2009: 32 cases including 15 deaths in Kasaï-Occidental (Zaire virus).
    • 2007: 264 cases including 187 deaths in Kasaï-Occidental (Zaire virus).
    • 1995: 315 cases and 250 deaths occurred in Kikwit and surrounding area.
    • 1977: 1 case (Zaire virus).
    • 1976: 318 cases including 280 deaths in Yambuku (Zaire virus).

    There are five identified subtypes of Ebola virus. The subtypes have been named after the location where they have been first detected. Three of the five subtypes have been associated with large Ebola haemorrhagic fever (EHF) outbreaks in Africa. Ebola–Zaire, Ebola–Sudan and Ebola–Bundibugyo. EHF is a febrile haemorrhagic illness which causes death in 25–90% of all cases.

    Public health response

    The following public health response measures have been implemented:

    • The national committee against viral haemorrhagic fever has been reactivated and will continue meeting every day to coordinate the response.
    • Strengthening of surveillance and investigation including contact tracing are ongoing.
    • WHO will provide assistance and technical support. The deployment to DRC of an additional WHO multidisciplinary team is currently considered to support the response of national authorities.
    • The Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) has been activated to provide additional support if required.
    • The need and feasibility of potential Ebola ring vaccination is being discussed.

    WHO risk assessment

    To date, the outbreak is reported in a remote and hard to reach area and appears to be geographically relatively limited. However, Investigations are ongoing to assess the full extent of the outbreak and therefore high vigilance still needs to be maintained.

    WHO does not recommend any restriction of travel and trade to DRC based on the currently available information.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO).

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    World Health Organization (WHO)
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