Over the weekend and through today, the ministry of health in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded 23 new Ebola cases and 19 deaths, while a Katwa hospital saw a violent attack that left one of the assailants dead. The totals swell outbreak numbers to 1,340 cases, of which 1,274 are confirmed. The number of deaths rose to 874.
The current outbreak has a case-fatality rate of 62%, the highest of any documented Ebola outbreak.
Doctors Without Border (MSF), which has been critical of the WHO’s response, said today that the organization was still failing to control the outbreak. “Whatever the official status of this outbreak is, it is clear that the outbreak is not under control and therefore we need a better collective effort. The virus has not spread to neighboring countries so far, but the possibility exists,” said Gwenola Seroux, emergency manager at MSF in a press statement. Ron Klain, the United States Ebola response coordinator during the West African outbreak, took to Twitter to criticize the WHO. “The response is failing to get the disease under control,” Klain said. “This is particularly worrisome given that — unlike the Ebola response in 2014-15 — this effort has the benefit of a highly effective vaccine that can prevent the disease’s spread.” Klain called for the US government to step up its response efforts for this crisis, and quickly. The United States has not had feet on the ground in the DRC since September, when Trump administration officials removed personnel amid security concerns.
A University of Arkansas biologist found a newly discovered species of ebolavirus, named Bombali, in a bat caught in Kenya. Bombali, which is not known to infect humans, had previously been found only in Sierra Leone, 3,400 miles to the west.
Alongside the slew of new cases, 12 more people died from their infections, as violence continued against outbreak responders.
Officials report 5 new infections, expanding the outbreak to 923 cases.
“Tonight another deplorable attack on an Ebola treatment facility has taken place, this time in the city of Butembo,” said Hugues Robert, MSF emergency desk manager, in a news release. “This follows the attack last week on another MSF Ebola treatment center in nearby Katwa. This attack has not only put the lives of Ebola patients and their families in danger, but also those of MSF and Ministry of Health staff.”
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said today that it has suspended all activities at the Ebola treatment center in Katwa, following a violent attack over the weekend, severely limiting access to care in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) main hot spot.
Also, experts call for the WHO to reconvene its Ebola emergency committee and consider declaring a public health emergency of international concern.
The number of confirmed cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Ebola outbreak has jumped by 19 since Friday, most of them in Katwa, where responders face more community resistance. Over the course of the outbreak, responders have been grappling with evolving challenges in different areas. In today’s update, the health ministry described a security incident at a health checkpoint in Komanda that injured two workers.