More than ten weeks after the declaration of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic, we seem to be facing a second peak of the outbreak, according to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Ebola image/NIAID
Ebola image/NIAID

Through Oct. 29, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Ministry of Health reports a total of 276 cases of hemorrhagic fever were reported in the region, of which 241 confirmed and 35 probable.

Of the 174 deaths reported since the beginning of the outbreak, 139 were among confirmed cases and 35 among probable cases. The proportion of deaths among confirmed cases is 58.2%

MSF says the epicentre has now moved from the small village of Mangina to the much bigger city of Beni, where the number of confirmed cases has shown a clear increase throughout October. Ten health zones in North Kivu and Ituri provinces (Mandima, Mabalako, Beni, Oicha, Butembo, Kalunguta, Komanda, Masareka, Musienene and Tchomia) have so far reported confirmed or probable cases of Ebola. The epidemiological situation in North Kivu is more of a concern now than it was in September, when the number of cases appeared to be decreasing.

Since the beginning of vaccination on 8 August 2018, 24,510  people have been vaccinated, including 12,762 in Beni, 4,391 in Mabalako, 1,962 in Katwa, 1,663 in Mandima, 1,295 in Butembo, 690 in Masereka, 434 in Bunia, 355 in Tchomia, 240 to Komanda, 227 to Kalunguta, 160 to Musienene, 121 to Oicha, 110 to Vuhovi and 100 to Mutwanga.

Potential risk factors for transmission of EVD at the national and regional levels include: the transportation links between the affected areas, the rest of the country, and neighboring countries; the internal displacement of populations; and the displacement of Congolese refugees to neighboring countries. The country is concurrently experiencing other epidemics (e.g. cholera, vaccine derived poliomyelitis), and a long-term humanitarian crisis. Additionally, the security situation in North Kivu and Ituri may hinder the implementation of response activities.