UNICEF is increasingly concerned about the impact on children of a resurgence of Bubonic plague in the eastern province of Ituri in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
New research, supported by UNICEF, in three health zones of Ituri shows that children are especially at risk of contracting plague, which in recent months has been making a comeback for the first time in more than a decade.
Figures released for the three health zones of Biringi, Rethy, and Aru – where UNICEF focused its research – show that there were 490 plague cases between 2020 and 2021, with 20 fatalities. The figures show that over the same period there were 578 cases and 44 plague-related deaths throughout the entire Ituri province.
Ituri is one of only a handful of places in the world – including Madagascar and Peru – where plague cases continue to be reported. The latest outbreak differs from previous ones because both bubonic and the highly infectious pneumonic form of plague – transmitted from person to person through the air – have been reported in areas previously free of the disease near the border with South Sudan and Uganda to the east of the province. Frequent population displacement and insecurity in the region creates a considerable risk of cross-border transmission.
Source: APO Group – Africa Newsroom / Press release | Poverty, conflict and displacement leave children at risk from renewed Bubonic plague outbreaks in Ituri region of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo