In the past week, 57 new confirmed Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases with an additional 46 deaths have been reported from 18 health zones in three affected provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In the 21 days from 29 July through 18 August 2019, 65 health areas in 18 health zones reported new cases, representing 10% of the 665 health areas in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri provinces. During this period, a total of 215 confirmed cases were reported, with the majority coming from the health zones of Beni (33%, n=70) and Mandima (20%, n=44).
Cases were detected in two new health zones this past week: Mwenga Health Zone in South Kivu and Pinga Health Zone in North Kivu. In Mwenga, three confirmed cases have been reported thus far after two individuals (mother and child) had contact with a confirmed case in Beni before travelling south. The third confirmed case was a co-patient in a community health facility where the first cases initially sought care. In Pinga, one confirmed case has been reported and investigations are ongoing to identify epidemiological links between this individual and outbreak-affected areas. Rapid response teams were quickly deployed to scale up surveillance and response operations in both areas.
As of 18 August 2019, a total of 2888 EVD cases were reported, including 2794 confirmed and 94 probable cases, of which 1938 cases died (overall case fatality ratio 67%). Of the total confirmed and probable cases with reported sex and age, 58% (1672) were female, and 28% (810) were children aged less than 18 years. Cases continue to be reported among health workers, with the cumulative number infected rising to 153 (5% of all confirmed and probable cases).
Persistent insecurity and unrest are hampering the response in Beni. On 19 August 2019, a “ville morte” protest took place in Beni, Butembo and Oicha in response to recent attacks by armed groups on civilians. This resulted in a temporary suspension of Ebola response activities. Operations resumed on 20 August 2019, with extra caution. Further demonstrations are anticipated. The suspension of Ebola response activities often results in an increase in case numbers and in cases spreading to new areas in the following weeks.
Pillar 1 of the fourth Strategic Response Plan (SRP4) for the control of the EVD outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is now available on the WHO website. Pillar 1 covers the core public health response to the outbreak; the funding requirement for all partners to sustain the health response as outlined in this plan is US$ 287 million, including US$ 120-140 million for WHO. So far, US$ 15.3 million have been received, with further funds committed or pledged. WHO’s Ebola response operations are currently impacted by a lack of immediately available funds. A summary of funding received by WHO since the start of this outbreak can be found here.
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