This past week saw a continued increase in the number of new Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases reported in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with a total of 126 new confirmed cases reported. Most of these cases originated primarily from several geographically-limited, hotspot areas within Katwa, Mandima, Butembo, Mabalako and Musienene health zones. During the last 21 days (8-28 April 2019), a total of 297 confirmed cases were reported from: Katwa (141), Butembo (33), Mandima (33), Vuhovi (23), Mabalako (19), Beni (14), Musienene (14), Kalunguta (10), Masereka (5), Biena (1), Kyondo (1), Mutwanga (1), Oicha (1), and Komanda (1). During this period, 70 health areas in 14 health zones reported new cases; 45% of the 156 health areas affected to date (Table 1 and Figure 2).
As of 28 April 2019, a total of 1466 EVD cases, including 1400 confirmed and 66 probable cases, were reported. A total of 957 deaths were reported (overall case fatality ratio 65%), including 891 deaths among confirmed cases. Of the 1466 confirmed and probable cases with known age and sex, 56% (815) were female, and 28% (416) were children aged less than 18 years. The number of healthcare workers affected has risen to 92, including 33 deaths.
Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) teams on the ground have been working closely with Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) teams this week in support of the Safe Injection Campaign, an initiative aimed at encouraging the safer use of needles and injections in homes as a means of reducing EVD transmission risks. The campaign will commence on 5 May 2019, alongside activities for the World Hand Hygiene Day. As part of the continued efforts to empower communities to be more actively engaged in the EVD response, requests received from the numerous dialogues with local residents are being reviewed to aid the transfer of the response ownership back to the community. Further plans are currently being drafted on who will deliver these feedback to the communities in a timely manner. Lastly, RCCE teams are also working closely with other WHO partners to bring about a new mass communications campaign to comprehensively promote key messages to the affected communities from all outbreak response pillars.