This Weekly Bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 66 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key new and ongoing events, including:
Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 in Benin
Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
Hepatitis E in Namibia
Humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia.
For each of these events, a brief description, followed by public health measures implemented and an interpretation of the situation is provided.
A table is provided at the end of the bulletin with information on all new and ongoing public health events currently being monitored in the region, as well as recent events that have largely been controlled and thus closed.
Major issues and challenges include:
This week, the Republic of Benin reported a confirmed case of circulating vaccine derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2), becoming the 12th country in the African region to report cVDPV2 outbreak. The cVDPV2 outbreaks are largely emanating from three major hotspots in the region, characterized by chronic insecurity and complex humanitarian emergencies. The circulation of vaccine derived poliovirus is becoming a major public health problem in the region given the high population mobility across international borders and accumulation of unprotected populations due to suboptimal national immunization coverage. These events highlight the need to step up performance of national immunization programmes to maintain high levels of routine polio vaccination coverage in all countries in the region to minimize the risk of emergence and consequences of any poliovirus circulation.
This week, Mwenga Health Zone in South Kivu Province reported two new confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), bringing to three the number of affected provinces in Democratic Republic of the Congo. Additionally, a new health zone, Pinga, in North Kivu also reported a confirmed case for the first time. All the reported cases in the newly affected areas are linked to Beni, the current hotspot. It is critical that local transmission in the newly affected areas are prevented through implementation of robust control measures, as was done in Goma.