The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, Democratic Republic of the Congo, continues to be challenging as ongoing security incidents and pockets of community mistrust hamper response efforts. Following our last report on 19 February 2019, 32 new confirmed cases have been reported, with 11 additional deaths.
From the beginning of the outbreak to 24 February 2019, a total of 872 EVD cases, including 807 confirmed and 65 probable cases, were reported from 19 health zones in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces. A total of 548 deaths were reported (overall case fatality ratio 63%), including 483 deaths among confirmed cases. Of confirmed and probable cases with reported age and sex, 57% (496/871) were female, and 30% (262/871) were children aged less than 18 years. One healthcare worker was among the newly confirmed cases in the last week, bringing the number of health workers infected to 69, with 21 deaths.
Eight (8) of the 19 affected health zones have active virus transmission, reporting at least one confirmed case in the last 21 days (4-24 February 2019). Over this period, a total of 73 confirmed cases were reported from Katwa (43), Butembo (18), Kyondo (4), Vuhovi (3), Kalunguta (2), Oicha (1), Beni (1), and Rwampara (1). Trends in case incidence reflect that the outbreak is continuing, with most recent cases reported in the major urban centres of Katwa and Butembo, with 84% (61/73) of cases reported in the last three weeks. Overall, cases have been reported from 119 of 301 (40%) health areas (a subdivision of health zones) across 19 health zones. Thirty-two health areas have reported at least one case in the last 21 days.
The Ebola treatment centre (ETC) in Katwa was set on fire by unknown assailants during a security incident that occurred on the night of 24 February 2019. The ETC, manned by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Ministry of Health, has been rendered non-functional and the patients have been evacuated to Butembo ETC. While no casualties have been reported, this incident will negatively impact on the overall response operations.
The Ministry of Health (MoH), WHO and partners continue to monitor and investigate all alerts in affected areas, in other provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in neighbouring countries. To date, all reported alerts outside the outbreak affected areas have been investigated or laboratory tested to rule out EVD.