The World Health Organization (WHO) said today that six weeks into the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the overall situation has improved since the height of the epidemic; however, significant risks remain surrounding the continued detections of sporadic cases within Mabalako, Beni and Butembo health zones in North Kivu Province.

Ebola image/NIAID
Ebola image/NIAID

According to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) MInistry of Health, a total of 140 cases of hemorrhagic fever were reported in the region, 109 confirmed and 31 probable.

Of the 109 confirmed, 63 died and 37 are cured.

To date, 8,963 people have been vaccinated with VSV-EBOV, Merck’s experimental Ebola vaccine.

WHO notes while the majority of communities have welcomed response measures, such as daily contact monitoring and vaccination where appropriate, in some, risks of transmission and poor disease outcomes have been amplified by unfavorable behaviors, with reluctance to adopt prevention and risk mitigation behaviors.

There have been challenges with contact tracing activities due to the constant movement of people between health zones, individuals hiding when symptoms develop and reports of community resistance.

Risks are heightened by continued transmission in local health facilities because of poor infection prevention and control (IPC) measures, sporadic reports of unsafe burials, and the detection of cases in hard-to-reach and insecure areas.