Photo: World Health Organization
Healthcare professionals perform proper dressing of protective equipment during vaccination training against Ebola.
The recent escalation in the number of cases of Ebola virus (EVD) continues in the North Kivu provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Last week, 65 new cases confirmed in the last seven days were reported, mainly from the areas of Katwa, Mandima, Butembo and Vuhovi. During the last 21 days (March 18 to April 7, 2019), 58 health areas in 13 health areas reported new cases; 42% of the 137 areas affected so far (Table 1 and Figure 2). During this period, a total of 199 cases confirmed by Katwa (69), Vuhovi (36), Mandima (30), Beni (18), Butembo (16), Masereka (13), Oicha (8), Kayna ( 2), Lubero (2), Musienene (2), Kalunguta (1), Bunia (1) and Mabalako (1). As of 7 April 2019, 1154 EVE cases were reported, including 1088 confirmed and 66 probable cases. 731 deaths were reported (total death rate of the case 63%), including 665 deaths among confirmed cases. Out of 1154 confirmed and probable cases with reported age and sex, 57% (662) were female and 29% (331) were children under the age of 18. The number of health workers affected has risen to 85, including 30 deaths, with three new health workers among the new cases confirmed in Katwa and one in Musienene. This week also saw further strengthening of Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) activities in various outbreak hotspots. The IPC teams on the ground participate in community dialogues with localleaders from different health areas to address persistent difficulties related to community reluctance. The current IPC activities continue to be conducted with determination as per protocol, with IPC rings open around each confirmed case. This includes the decontamination of health facilities and housing, the rapid assessment of IPC practices at health facilities and the identification of other health facilities within a 500m radius (urban) or 1km (rural) due to the risk high to receive appropriate contacts. Based on the results of health facility assessments, the IPC teams follow supportive supervision to address any identified IPC gaps, ranging from once a day to once a week depending on severity. WHO is confident that a solid implementation of effective IPC measures will help slow the spread of EVD in hotspot areas in the coming weeks.