Ebola outbreak in DRC continues

Lab with experimental Ebola virus vaccine

A new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) states that as the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) approaches five months since declaration, responding to the outbreak continues to be a challenge. WHO says that it is collaborating with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and partners on containment efforts to end the outbreak. It is focusing response areas in areas where EVD transmission continues, including Butembo, Katwa, Beni and Kalunguta.

Between 21-27 November 2018, 36 new cases of EVD were reported. These were in Beni (13), Katwa (nine), Kalungunta (six), Butembo (six), Kyondo (one) and Oicha (one). Of the newly infected people were two health workers from Katwa and Kyondo, bringing the total number of health workers infected to date to 42. WHO said that it has been responding to the developing situation in Katwa, Butembo, Beni and Kalungunta for the past two months and that preliminary data indicate an impact of the public health control measures in Beni and Kalunguta. It stated that community engagement remains a challenge in Katwa and that concerns have been raised regarding the high number of young children affected.

According to the report, the risk of the outbreak spreading to other provinces in the DRC and to neighbouring countries remains very high. WHO has reminded travellers that there is currently no licensed vaccine to protect people from the Ebola virus and that they should seek medical advice before travel and practice good hygiene.