1. Situation Update
This week, the incidence of Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases continued to be low (Figure 1). From 10 to 16 February 2020, one new confirmed case was reported in Beni Health Zone, North Kivu Province in Democratic Republic of the Congo. The case was reported on 11 February 2020, and was listed and followed as a contact at the time of detection, with known epidemiological links. Early detection of cases reduces the probability of transmission of EVD in the community and significantly improves the clinical outcome for the patients.
In the past 21 days (27 January to 16 February), 10 new confirmed cases, including three community deaths, were reported from four of the 30 health areas in two active health zones in North Kivu Province (Figure 2, Table 1): Beni (90%; n=9) and Mabalako (10%; n=1). It has been more than 42 days since new cases were confirmed from Butembo Health Zone. In Mabalako Health Zone, there are no more contacts in their high risk period (days seven to 13 since last possible exposure).
While we are cautiously optimistic about the overall trend and reduced geographic spr ead of the outbreak, the security situation in several EVD-affected health areas remain volatile, and the risk of spread within Democratic Republic of the Congo and neighbouring countries remains high. Given delays in isolation of some cases in recent weeks and continued reports of nosocomial transmission, we expect to see additional cases in the coming weeks. It is critical that response teams rapidly detect, investigate and follow-up all cases and their contracts.
As of 16 February 2020, a total of 3432 EVD cases, including 3309 confirmed and 123 probable cases have been reported, of which 2253 cases died (overall case fatality ratio 66%). Of the total confirmed and probable cases, 56% (1923) were female, 28% (968) were children aged less than 18 years, and 5% (172) were healthcare workers.
On 12 February 2020, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus reconvened the Emergency Committee for EVD under the International Health Regulations to review the status of the outbreak. It was the view of the Committee that this event still constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). Further details can be found in the Emergency Committee Statement.
WHO revised the risk assessment for this event from Very High down to High at the national and regional levels, while the risk level was maintained as Low at the global level. This assessment acknowledged improvements in case incidence and other epidemiological indicators, and the strengthened local and regional capacities.