Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo - Thu, 20 Jun 2019 00:00:00 GMT

This week saw a continued, gradual decrease in the number of new Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases from the hotspots of Katwa and Butembo compared to the previous weeks. However, these encouraging signs are offset by a marked increase in case incidence in Mabalako Health Zone, and especially in Aloya Health Area (Figure 1). While the spread of EVD to new geographic areas remains low, in the health zones of Bunia, Lubero, Komanda and Rwampara, recent reintroduction events illustrate the high risks in previously affected areas. Along with the rise in cases in Mabalako, there was also an accompanying increase in healthcare worker (HCW) and nosocomial infections. These findings highlight the ongoing need to comprehensively strengthen the infection prevention and control measures in the various healthcare facilities operating in these areas. The occurrence of EVD infections in these health areas also place a strain on the already limited security resources needed to facilitate access for effective response activities to continue.

In addition to operational challenges encountered on the ground by healthcare workers during the past ten months, the overall EVD outbreak response effort is confronting substantial difficulty in maintaining scale in the context of a US $54 million funding shortage. Without adequate funding to fill this gap, response activities will be compromised, negatively impacting the entire response, resulting in a drastic reduction in vital health services available and a cessation of operations during a critical time of the outbreak. Member States and other donors are strongly encouraged to help meet this funding gap in order to ensure that hard won progress in containing this EVD outbreak will not suffer a potentially devastating setback due to financial limitations.

Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo - Thu, 13 Jun 2019 00:00:00 GMT

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues to show a decrease in the number of new cases in hotspots such as Katwa, Beni and Kalunguta health zones. However, in other areas such as Mabalako and Butembo, moderate rates of transmission continue. With ongoing EVD transmission within communities in 12 health zones in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, factors such as persistent delays in case detection, approximately a third of cases dying outside of Ebola treatment or transit centres, and high population mobility, pose a high risk of geographical spread both within the DRC and to neighbouring countries. This was highlighted by the recent exportation of cases to Uganda – the first confirmed cases detected outside of North Kivu and Ituri province since the onset of the outbreak over 10 months ago. For more information, please see Disease Outbreak News on EVD in Uganda

Weekly decrease in the incidence of new cases have been reported in several health zones; however, increase or a continuation of the outbreak has been observed in others (Figure 1). In the 21 days, between 22 May to 11 June 2019, 62 health areas within 12 health zones reported new cases, representing 9% of the 664 health areas within North Kivu and Ituri provinces (Figure 2). During this period, a total of 212 confirmed cases were reported, the majority of which were from the health zones of Mabalako (33%, n=69), Butembo (18%, n=39), Katwa (14%, n=30) Mandima (11%, n=23) and Beni (9%, n=20). Single confirmed cases were also reported from Rwampara and Komanda health zones this past week following a prolonged period since the last reported case, with both cases acquiring the infection in the aforementioned hotspots.

Ebola virus disease – Republic of Uganda - Thu, 13 Jun 2019 00:00:00 GMT

On 11 June 2019, the Ugandan Ministry of Health (MoH) has confirmed a case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Kasese district, Uganda. The patient is a 5-year-old child from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who travelled with his family from Mabalako Health Zone in Democratic Republic of the Congo after attending, on 1 June 2019, the funeral of his grandfather (confirmed EVD case on 2 June 2019). On 10 June 2019, the child and the family entered the country through Bwera border post and sought medical care at Kagando hospital where health workers identified Ebola as a possible cause of illness. The child was transferred to Bwera Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) for management. The confirmation of Ebola Virus was made on 11 June 2019 at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), and the child has deceased in the early hours of 12 June 2019. Two other suspected cases, a 50-year-old female (grandmother of the first case) and 3-year-old male (younger brother of the first case) part of the family members who travelled together with the first confirmed child were also admitted in the same ETU and were confirmed for EVD by UVRI on 12 June 2019. The 50 year-old-female died during the night between 12 and 13 June. 27 other contacts have been identified and are being monitored. Healthcare workers from both health care facilities where the child was treated have been previously vaccinated.

All three confirmed cases are imported from Democratic Republic of the Congo and belong to the same family who travelled together from Mabalako Health Zone, an area currently affected by Ebola outbreak in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. To date, they remain as a single episode of EVD in Uganda, and the geographical spread in Uganda appears to be limited to one district near Democratic Republic of the Congo border. Further investigations are ongoing both in Uganda and Democratic Republic of the Congo to assess the full extent of the outbreak.

Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 – Cameroon - Thu, 06 Jun 2019 00:00:00 GMT

On 23 May 2019, WHO received notification through the Global Polio Laboratory Network (GPLN) of the detection of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) from an environmental sample collected on 20 April 2019 in a hospital in Northern Cameroon which borders Borno state in Nigeria and Chad.

Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo - Thu, 06 Jun 2019 00:00:00 GMT

As the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak surpasses the 2000 case mark, indicators over the past two weeks provide early signs of an easing of the transmission intensity. This follows a period of improved security and therefore access to communities, allowing response teams to operate more freely. A total of 88 confirmed cases were reported each week for the past two epidemiological weeks, down from a peak of 126 cases per week observed in April. Declines in the incidence of new cases have been most apparent in hotspots such as Katwa, Mandima and Beni health zones. Concurrently, improvements in the proportion of cases among contacts registered prior to onset (up from 30% three weeks ago to 55% last week), and a lower proportion of cases resulting from transmission within community health facilities (from 31% during the first week of April 2019 to 9% during the last week of May 2019), are encouraging. Nevertheless, both indicators are below where we would aim to be. The outbreak continues to be contained within 12 active health zones in North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

However, substantive rates of transmission continue within affected communities, and further waves of the outbreak may be expected. An increase in the incidence of new cases has been reported from Mabalako Health Zone in recent weeks, and high infection rates continue within Butembo metropolitan. Times between detecting, reporting and admission of cases at Ebola treatment/transit centres (ETCs) remains too long (median 6 days, interquartile range 4–9 days in the past 3 weeks), with about a third (34% in the past 3 weeks) of cases dying outside of ETCs. Collectively these indicators highlight that the risks associated with this outbreak remain very high.

Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo - Thu, 30 May 2019 00:00:00 GMT

A decline in the number of confirmed Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases has been reported this week (22 to 28 May). Over the past seven days, a total of 73 new confirmed cases were reported compared to the previous where 127 new confirmed cases were reported. This should be interpreted with caution given the complex operating environment and fragility of the security situation. Katwa, one of the epicenters of the outbreak, reported fewer cases this week and other health zones such as Mabalako, Kalunguta and Mandima have also seen a decline in case reporting. Active transmission was reported in 14 of the 22 health zones that have been affected to date. Other initial encouraging findings such as a lower proportion of reported nosocomial infections, a lower proportion of community deaths and a higher proportion of registered contacts at case detection have also been reported. Weekly fluctuations in these indicators have been reported in the past and uncertainties remain with regards to the ability of the surveillance system to identify all new cases in areas faced with ongoing insecurity. Operations are still regularly hampered by security issues, and the risk of national and regional spread remains very high.

Mabalako reported 24% (73/309) of the new confirmed cases in the past 21 days. Nine out of the 12 Mabalako health areas have reported new confirmed cases during this period. In the 21 days between 8 to 28 May 2019, 83 health areas within 14 health zones reported new cases, representing 46% of the 180 health areas affected to date (Table 1 and Figure 2). During this period, a total of 309 confirmed cases were reported, the majority of which were from the Mabalako (24%, n=73), Butembo (21%, n=64), Katwa (14%, n=42), Beni (11%, n=34), Kalunguta (10%, n=31), Musienene (7%, n=23) and Mandima (6%, n=20) health zones.

Wild poliovirus type 1 – Islamic Republic of Iran - Fri, 24 May 2019 00:00:00 GMT

On 9 May 2019, the Global Polio Laboratory Network (GPLN) notified WHO of the detection of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) from an environmental sewage sample collected on 20 April 2019 in Konarak district, Sistan-Baluchistan province, Islamic Republic of Iran. The virus was detected in an environmental sample only, and to date, no associated cases of paralysis have been detected.

The subsequent scheduled sewage sample collected from the same site on 4 May 2019 (2 weeks after the positive sample) tested negative for poliovirus.

Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo - Thu, 23 May 2019 00:00:00 GMT

Although this past week continues to bear witness to a steady rise in the number of Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the overall security situation has allowed for the resumption of most response activities. While no major insecurity incidents have occurred, outbreak response teams, local healthcare workers, and community members cooperating with response efforts, are increasingly subjected to threats made against them by armed groups present in hotspot areas such as Katwa and Butembo. These threats are often disseminated through leaflets or direct intimidation. Armed groups’ presence, activities and increasing direct threats against response teams continue to be reported in other EVD affected areas, in particular Lubero, Masereka, Mabalako, Kalunguta, and Vuhovi, resulting in some healthcare workers being unwilling to don personal protective equipment or perform critical Infection Prevention Control (IPC) measures out of fear of violence being levied against them or the healthcare facilities where they operate.

During the past three weeks, reports indicate that transmission remains most intense in seven main hotspot areas: Beni, Butembo, Kalunguta, Katwa, Mabalako, Mandima, and Musienene. Collectively, these health zones account for the vast majority (93%) of the 349 cases reported in the last 21 days between 1 - 21 May 2019 (Figure 1 and Table 1). During this period, new cases were reported from 91 health areas within 15 of the 22 health zones affected to date (Figure 2).

Dengue fever – Réunion, France - Mon, 20 May 2019 00:00:00 GMT

On 16 March 2018, WHO was notified by the National International Health Regulations (IHR) Focal Point of France, through the European Commission Early Warning and Response System, of an increase in the number of dengue cases reported on La Réunion Island, France, since the beginning of 2018.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - Fri, 17 May 2019 00:00:00 GMT

From 9 through 30 April 2019, the National International Health Regulations (IHR) Focal Point of Saudi Arabia reported nine additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, including three deaths.

Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo - Thu, 16 May 2019 00:00:00 GMT

Although the security situation has subsided mildly into an unpredictable calm, the transmission of Ebola virus disease (EVD) continues to intensify in North Kivu and Ituri provinces with more than 100 confirmed cases reported this week.

The main drivers behind the continued rise in cases stems from insecurity hampering access to critical hotspot areas, persistent pockets of poor community acceptance and hesitation to participate in response activities, and delayed detection and late presentation of EVD cases to Ebola Treatment Centres (ETCs)/Transit Centres (TCs).

Monkeypox – Singapore - Thu, 16 May 2019 00:00:00 GMT

On 9 May 2019, the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Singapore notified WHO of one laboratory-confirmed case of monkeypox. The case-patient is a 38 year old Nigerian man who arrived in Singapore on 28 April 2019 and attended a workshop from 29-30 April. Prior to his travel to Singapore, he had worked in the Delta state in Nigeria, and had attended a wedding on 21 April 2019 in a village in Ebonyi State, Nigeria.

The patient developed fever, muscle aches, chills and skin rash on 30 April. He reported that he had remained in his hotel room most of the time between 1 and 7 May. He was transferred to a public hospital by ambulance on 7 May and referred to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on the same day, where he was isolated for further management. Skin lesion samples were taken on 8 May and tested positive for monkeypox virus by the National Public Health Laboratory on the same day. He is currently in a stable condition.

Rift Valley Fever – Mayotte (France) - Mon, 13 May 2019 13:30:00 GMT

On 4 January 2019, the National IHR Focal Point for France informed WHO of five human autochthonous cases of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) diagnosed on Mayotte Island through the Early Warning and Response System of the European Union. The dates of symptom onset ranged from 22 November to 31 December 2018.

From November 2018 to 03 May 2019, 129 confirmed human Rift Valley Fever (RVF) cases and 109 animal foci (23 small ruminants and 86 bovine) have been reported in Mayotte. After a steady decline in cases during the last three weeks of March 2019, a slight increase has been observed in April 2019. As of 3 May 2019, one new human case but no new animal foci have been reported. Both human RVF cases and animal foci are mainly located in the center and the north west of the main island Grande-Terre. However, since the end of March 2019, a few new animal foci have also been detected in the east of Grande-Terre and in Petite Terre of Mayotte.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - Thu, 09 May 2019 00:00:00 GMT

From 1 March through 8 April 2019, the National International Health Regulations (IHR) Focal Point of Saudi Arabia reported 45 additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, including 13 deaths.

Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo - Thu, 09 May 2019 00:00:00 GMT

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak response this past week continues to be hampered by insecurity. On 3 May in Katwa, a Safe and Dignified Burial (SDB) team was violently attacked following the completion of a burial for a deceased EVD case. In Butembo and surrounding health zones, response activities were repeatedly halted due to a number of serious security incidents taking place from 4-6 May. On 8 May, a group of over 50 armed militia infiltrated the city centre. Security forces repelled the attack following intense gunfire in close proximity to staff accommodations. Although activities resumed on 9 May, after almost five consecutive days of suspension, threats of further attacks against EVD response teams and facilities remain prevalent.

These security incidents, and especially the resultant lack of access to EVD affected communities, remain a major impediment to the response, with teams unable to perform robust surveillance nor deliver much needed treatment and immunisations. The ongoing violent attacks sow fear, perpetuate mistrust, and further compound the multitude of challenges already faced by frontline healthcare workers. Without commitment from all groups to cease these attacks, it is unlikely that this EVD outbreak can remain successfully contained in North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

Measles – Tunisia - Thu, 09 May 2019 00:00:00 GMT

From 1 January through 30 April 2019, the Ministry of Health in Tunisia responded to a large measles outbreak in the country. A total of 3 141 suspected cases, of which 909 (28.9%) were laboratory confirmed and 1 236 (39.4 %) epidemiologically linked cases including 30 deaths (case fatality ratio=1.0 %), have been reported in all of the 24 governorates (range 1 – 1 274). The majority of cases were reported from Kasserine (1 274 cases) and Sfax (212 cases) governorates. In April 2019, four additional governorates were particularly affected with 155, 116, 93 and 69 cases reported from Kairouan, Tunis, Sousse and Nabeul respectively.

The two most affected age groups were those older than 15 years (31%) and infants between the age of 6 and 12 months (28%). The male: female ratio was 1.2. Eighty four percent of affected children between 1 and 5 years were not vaccinated. Death was reported in 30 cases ranging in age from 15 days to 41 years of age (median, 7.5 months).

Measles – Western Pacific Region - Tue, 07 May 2019 00:00:00 GMT

Globally, between 2016 and 2017, the number of reported measles cases increased by 31%, while in the WHO Western Pacific Region (WPR), the total number of cases reported decreased by 82% during the same period. However, there was an increase in cases reported in WPR, from 11 118 in 2017 to 26 163 cases in 2018. A resurgence of measles cases has been seen in all WHO Regions. An unusually high number of cases reported from countries and areas of the WPR in 2019 have been reported from: 1) several countries/areas where measles has been eliminated due to importation-related outbreaks; and 2) endemic countries such as the Philippines which has ongoing measles outbreak. In WPR, currently nine countries and areas (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Hong Kong SAR (China), Japan, Macao SAR (China), New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore) are verified by the Regional Verification Commission for Measles Elimination as having interrupted endemic measles virus transmission for more than 36 months.

To date, there have been no measles cases reported from the Pacific Island Countries and areas. The majority of countries and areas in WPR have made positive inroads to improve immunization and achieve higher vaccination coverage at the national level. However, with global resurgence of measles and movement of populations, several countries and areas in WPR remain vulnerable to outbreaks of measles due to low coverage of measles-containing-vaccine (MCV), at the subnational level and among vulnerable populations.

Measles – European Region - Mon, 06 May 2019 00:00:00 GMT

In the first two months of 2019, 34 300 measles cases have been reported in 42 countries of the WHO European Region, including 13 measles-related deaths in three countries (Albania, Romania and Ukraine). The majority of cases are reported in Ukraine, with more than 25 000 cases (>70%)1.

As of 28 March 2019, the WHO European Region reported a total of 83 540 measles cases and 74 related deaths for 2018. This is compared to 25 869 cases and 42 deaths in 2017, and 5 273 cases and 13 deaths in 2016. In 2018, eight countries reported over 2 000 cases each including Ukraine (n= 53 218), Serbia (n=5 076), Israel (3 140), France (n=2 913), Italy, (n=2 686), Russian Federation (n=2 256), Georgia (n=2 203) and Greece (n=2 193).

Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo - Thu, 02 May 2019 00:00:00 GMT

The operating environment has become increasingly insecure and socio-politically complex. Insecurity remains a major impediment to ensuring timely response interventions in the affected communities. Ebola virus disease (EVD) response activities in Butembo and Katwa remained limited; however, these are gradually resuming following a comprehensive reinforcement of security measures and community engagement efforts. The overall security situation, nevertheless, remains volatile. While no significant injuries or damages are reported this week, access and activities in parts of Mandima, Masereka, Kalunguta and Vuhovi, remain irregular due to the presence of armed groups and other security concerns. New EVD cases are expected to continue to increase, in tandem with incidents of insecurity in these hotspot areas over the coming weeks, placing significant strain on response teams and the security resources available to secure their movements.

Incidence of EVD cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo this week saw a considerable, although not unexpected, rise compared to the week prior. This observation is in line with previous instances where a disruption to response activities was followed by a spike in the number of new cases. Transmission remains most intense in the Katwa, Butembo, and Mandima hotspot areas (Figure 1 and Table 1). In addition, notable recurring re-introduction events having been documented in previously affected health zones such as Mabalako and Musienene, followed by local amplification and extension to affect new heath areas. In the 21 days between 10 – 30 April 2019, 70 health areas within 15 health zones reported new cases; 45% of the 157 health areas affected to date (Table 1 and Figure 2). During this period, a total of 292 confirmed cases were reported, the majority of which were from the health zones of Katwa (47%, n=137), Butembo (13%, n=38), Mandima (11%, n=32), Mabalako (7%, n=20), and Musienene (6%, n=17).

Chikungunya – Congo - Wed, 01 May 2019 00:00:00 GMT

On 9 February 2019, the government of Congo officially declared an outbreak of chikungunya virus disease.