(MENAFN – African Press Organization) GENEVA, Switzerland, 29 November 2019 / APO Group / –
Six new confirmed cases were reported between 20 and 26 November in the outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces. Half of the confirmed cases this week came from the Mabalako Health Zone (50%, n = 3) and one case came from Mandima, Oicha and Beni Health Zones.
Last week, violence, widespread civil unrest and targeted attacks severely disturbed the Ebola response and limited access to affected communities in multiple locations.
On the night of November 27, an attack on the Ebola response camp in the Biakato mines resulted in the death of three rescuers and the injury of six others. The staff have been evacuated and most response activities in the area have been suspended. The same night, a separate attack on Ebola’s coordination office in Mangina resulted in the death of a police officer guarding the facility.
Since November 20, violence and civil unrest have limited response activities in Beni and Oicha. On 26 November, about a third of WHO Ebola response personnel in Beni was temporarily transferred to Goma. Disruptions in response and a lack of access to communities affected by Ebola threaten to reverse recent progress. As seen earlier during this outbreak, such disruptions often result in an increase in transmission and a consequent increase in the number of cases due to impacts on surveillance and control efforts such as active case search, contact search and vaccination.
As a result of the insecurity, the volume of daily reports reported by healthcare facilities and the community decreased in Beni in the four-day period from 23 to 26 November from around 400 per day to 120-150 per day. Proportionally similar reductions in the number of alarms were also observed in Butembo after two days of protests. In addition, recent security events have had an impact on contact tracking activities, which involves monitoring the recorded contacts of EVD cases for signs of infection, particularly in Oicha where only 15% of contacts were under surveillance by November 26. The average overall percentage of contacts under surveillance in the last 7 days is 86%, but it dropped to 59% on 25 November. These are essential response functions that are well known to reduce the risk of virus spreading and fluctuations in performance as a result of insecurity can allow for new transmission chains.
In the last 21 days (from 6 to 26 November), 19 confirmed cases have been reported from four active health areas nearby in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri (Figure 2, Table 1): Mabalako (63%, n = 12), Beni (21%, n = 4), Oicha (11%, n = 2) and Mandima (5%, n = 1). Most cases (95%, n = 18) are connected to known transmission chains. In the previous 21-day period (16 October to 5 November), 55 cases confirmed by seven health zones were reported.
As of November 26, a total of 3,304 EVD cases have been reported, including 3,186 confirmed and 118 probable cases, of which 2,199 have died (overall mortality rate of 67%). Of the total confirmed and probable cases, 56% (n = 1862) were women, 28% (n = 935) were children under the age of 18 and 5% (n = 163) were health workers.