DRC: WHO and Congolese health authorities continue Ebola response

The World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners are continuing the response to the Ebola outbreak in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in one of the world's most possible complexes.

According to the WHO, a decrease in the incidence of cases has been observed in Beni, the former epicenter. "This is a strong positive sign of the effectiveness of the response despite multiple challenges," notes the UN agency based in Geneva.

However, the WHO warns that trends should be interpreted with caution in Beni and elsewhere in the rest of the DRC, "because case detection should be delayed following the recent temporary interruption of intervention activities due to insecurity ".

In all cases, WHO points out that the evolution of the number of new cases reflects the persistence of the epidemic in these geographically dispersed areas, with an encouraging decline in the incidence of cases in areas such as Beni. According to the combined data of the WHO and the Congolese Ministry of Health, 122 suspected cases are under investigation.

Two new cases are confirmed, including one in Katwa and one in Biena. "Both are community deaths," says Kinshasa. It should be noted that four new healed people have left the Ebola treatment center in Butembo. "Hard-won progress could still be lost due to long periods of insecurity that would hinder containment efforts," argues the UN agency.

More than 58,000 people vaccinated against Ebola

Regarding the response to Ebola, the Congolese Ministry of Health recalls that since the beginning of vaccination on August 8, 2018, more than 58,000 people have been vaccinated, of which almost 20,000 in Beni, more than 11,000 in Katwa, more than 6,000 in Butembo , more than 5,000 in Mabalako. Immunization campaigns are also carried out in Kalunguta, Komanda, Mandima, Goma and even Kisangani. The only vaccine to be used in this outbreak is the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine, manufactured by the pharmaceutical group Merck, following approval by the Ethics Committee in its decision of 19 May 2018.

In addition, WHO notes that all alerts in the affected areas in other provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in neighboring countries continue to be monitored and investigated. Since the last report, alerts have been reviewed in several provinces of the DRC, Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and a traveler returning from Burundi to Sweden.

To date, Ebola has been excluded from all alerts outside the areas affected by the epidemic. International travelers who may have come into contact with the virus, including a doctor who has returned to the United States after providing medical assistance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are also closely monitored; all remain asymptomatic.

"If all citizens respect the health measures advocated by the Ministry of Health, it is possible to ensure that, even if a case of Ebola arrived in new health areas, it would be a sporadic case and would not lead to a new outbreak, "concludes the DRC Ministry of Health in its latest report on the epidemiological situation in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri.

With Onu Info.