The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continued over the weekend, with officials reporting 5 more confirmed or suspected cases, bringing the total to 121—91 confirmed and 30 probable.
As of yesterday, 81 people have died since the outbreak began at the start of August; 51 of those deaths occurred in confirmed cases. Fourteen suspected cases are under investigation, officials said.
New data from the DRC released Sep 2 showed there have been more Ebola cases in women during this outbreak, and the most affected age-group among women is 25 to 34. Men ages 35 to 44 are most likely to have been infected.
School begins as teachers voice concern
Children in the DRC started school yesterday in Beni and Mangina, the epicenters of the outbreak where the new cases have occurred, officials said.
A teachers union in Beni expressed concerns about their role in the Ebola outbreak, but talks between union leaders and outbreak response team members did not delay the beginning of the school year.
Last week, officials said school would start on time this year, with enhanced hygiene practices and surveillance measures.
Violence in Beni
Since Aug 8, 5,946 people have been vaccinated against Ebola virus using Merck’s unlicensed vaccone, including 3,076 in Mabalako, 1,633 in Beni, 1,067 in Mandima, 121 in Oicha, 30 in Katwa, and 19 in Kinshasa.
Three days ago, Peter Salama, MD, the WHO’s director-general of emergency preparedness and response, confirmed on Twitter that 8,000 doses of the vaccine were in place in the DRC and will continued to be used in a ring vaccination campaign.
But despite ample supplies, World Health Organization (WHO) workers have an ongoing challenge with completing surveillance and vaccine activities in the region. Earlier today, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, tweeted about a violent attack near Beni.
“Just been briefed on a violent attack near Beni in DRC last night, an Ebola-affected area. All WHO staff safe. This is not acceptable. We condemn this attack and call for a cessation of hostilities. Ebola is dangerous to all: we must focus on fighting Ebola, not each other,” he said.
Many WHO officials have said the most challenging aspect to this outbreak is its location, a border region where over 100 different militias and rebel groups fight for power. The area is also home to more than 1 million refugees.
Aug 31 DRC report
Sep 1 DRC report
Sep 2 DRC report
Sep 3 DRC report
Peter Salama Twitter feed
Tedros Ghebreyesus Twitter feed