This Weekly Bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 60 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key ongoing events, including:
- Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Cholera in Nigeria
- Cholera in Tanzania
- Typhoid fever in Zimbabwe
- 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 events that have recently been closed.
Major issues and challenges include:
The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to evolve. The number of new cases and deaths rapidly increased in the past weeks, presumably due to exposures to infections that occurred before the outbreak was detected and appropriate containment measures put in place. With all components of the response functioning, it is hoped that new infections are minimised and further transmissions are curtailed. The coming days and weeks are thus critical to the evolution of the outbreak. In the light of the prevailing circumstances, including the insecurity in the affected provinces, the priority remains consolidating all components of the response structures on the ground.
Nigeria has been experiencing a cholera outbreak since the beginning of the year, with several states affected. Although the number of states with active transmission has reduced significantly in the recent past weeks, intense transmission continues in Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara states, all in the northern part of the country. These states already have underlying vulnerabilities favouring propagation of cholera. The case fatality ratio (for the reporting week) was particularly high in Sokoto State, signifying underlying problems. While the overall cholera outbreak situation has shown some signs of improving, it remains a serious public health problem to the country and a potential threat to the neighbouring countries. Some of the affected states share borders with other countries in the region. This cholera outbreak calls for more attention from all stakeholders in and around Nigeria.