Africa weekly emergency situation update Vol. 2, No. 20

from World Health Organization
Published on 18 May 2009
General Context

Surveillance activities against the Influenza A H1N1 is still ongoing in all the AFRO countries. No confirmed case reported since the beginning of the outbreak. Five suspected cases are currently under investigation in three countries. Other major concerns are the ongoing outbreaks of diseases notably meningitis in the meningitis belt.

Countries Situations

Acute crises

CAR: Seven people died in a clash between rebels in the remote north of the Central African Republic (CAR) and Chadian bandits on May 15th 2009, after villagers complained to the rebels about Chadian bandits, who were stealing cattle**.

Chad: Fighting between government and rebel forces, in the east of the country near the town of Am Dam is over. The humanitarian consequences on civilian population are so far unknown. Meningitis outbreak: In Eastern Chad, 43 suspect cases with 3 deaths (CFR: 7%) were reported from week 1 to 19 in 2009*.

DRC: Ongoing insecurity in the North Kivu where FDLR rebels continue attacks on civilian populations, about 15,000 people have fled the areas during the recent period. Two suspect influenza A (H1N1) cases have been reported and are under investigation. Outbreak of suspected meningitis cases in the district of Aru in Ituri, in week 19, a total of 19 new cases have been reported making a total 48 cases with 4 deaths (CFR: 8.3%) since week 18*. Slight increase of cholera cases in South Kivu, in week 19, a total of 92 new cases with 2 deaths were reported making an overall total of 2,836 cases with 26 deaths (CFR: 0.9%) from week 1 to 19*.

Ethiopia: Rapid deteriorations in food security situation and increase in malnutrition continue to be reported in some districts of SNNPR, eastern Oromiya, particularly West Arsi, East and West Harerge as manifested by rising admissions of malnourished children to Out-patient Therapeutic Programs (OTPs) and Stabilization Centres (SCs). According to the Federal Ministry of Health, 180 new cases of AWD have been reported from Somali, Oromiya, SNNP and Afar Regions in last week making a cumulative total of 530 cases and 14 deaths (CFR: 2.7%) from 6th April to 10th May, 2009*.

Kenya: Cholera outbreak is on going, a total of 2,896 cases has been reported so far with 63 deaths (CFR: 2.1%) in 25 districts. Active transmission of disease is ongoing on in four districts namely, Na-ivasha, Tinderet, Moyale and Laisamis.

Madagascar: Political situation: calm has come back in all parts of the country despite the continued demonstrations of the opposition. The situation still needs monitoring.

Niger: Peace talks since May 12th between two of the three rebel movement in the North and the Government in Niamey. Meningitis outbreak, for four consecutive weeks, the number of cases is decreasing. In week 19, a total of 190 new cases with 8 deaths were reported. The total number of cases is now 12,368 with 492 deaths (CFR: 4%) since January 1st, 2009*. No district is in epidemic phase but 3 districts (Abalack, Tillabéri and Gouré) are in alert. WHO and health partners are supporting mass vaccination campaign in 22 districts*.

Nigeria: The rebel Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) on 15th May 2009 declared "all-out war" in Nigeria's southern oil-producing region reiterating an earlier warning to oil companies to evacuate the Delta area**. Meningitis, according to the MoH, deaths from the epidemic have risen to 2,148 since the first case was recorded in December 2008. The number of reported cases is 47,902 (CFR: 4.5%) over the same period**.

Zimbabwe: The cholera outbreak, the decline continues in all the provinces. 13 Cases and 1 death were reported on May 17th. A total of 98,247 cases and 4,278 deaths (CFR: 4.4%) have been reported as of 17th May 2009*.

Countries Under Surveillance

Angola: The level of water has continued to considerably decrease in flood affected areas. Cholera, as of may 10th 2009 a total of 681 cholera cases and 3 deaths (CFR: 0.44%) were reported nation wide*.

Burkina Faso: Meningitis, from week 1 to 19 in 2009, a total of 3,741 suspect cases with 469 deaths (CFR: 12.54%) have been reported. There is no district in epidemic or alert phase*.

Congo: We are monitoring the situation ahead of the July presidential election. Cholera outbreak reported in the district of Goma Tse Tse, Region of Pool, 71 cases without death.

Mozambique: Cholera outbreak, the number of cases is still decreasing since week 9. From January 1st to May 9th 2009, a total of 17,539 cases and 139 deaths (CFR: 0.8%)* were reported.

Influenza A H1N1 in the WHO African Region: 31 suspected cases of A/H1N1 have been reported since the beginning of the epidemic in 11 countries (South Africa, Zambia, Benin, Seychelles, Togo, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana and DRC). As of May 19th 2009, Five suspected cases in three countries are currently under investigation; DRC (2), Tanzania (2), Nigeria (1).

For more information please contact: Dr Omar Khatib, Programme Manager, EHA/AFRO email:

Sources: *WHO (HAC/EHA country FP, WHO/AFRO), ** International Humanitarian press and other partners