WHO AFRO Outbreaks and Other Emergencies, Week 35: 25 - 31 August (Data as reported by 17:00; 31 August 2018)
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
Measles in Mauritius
Cholera in Niger
Humanitarian crisis in Cameroon
Humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.
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 the Democratic Republic of the Congo reached its first month on 1 September 2018 since being confirmed and declared on 1 August 2018. While huge gains have been made to avoid escalation of the outbreak to other areas, significant threats for further spread of the disease remain. There are potential undocumented chains of transmission evidenced by new cases emerging outside known contact lists and the occurrence of community deaths. Reluctance by some communities to adopt Ebola prevention behaviours and weak infection prevention and control measures in healthcare facilities are some of the added risks. The coming few days will be critical in determining the trajectory of the outbreak. The priority remains the strengthening of all components of the response as well as enhancing preparedness in the non-affected provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its neighbouring countries.
The cholera outbreak in Niger continues, with one additional district being affected. Some minimum reduction in the number of reported new cases has been observed in the last week. However, abundance of risk factors for disease transmission on the ground, coupled with the ongoing rains and floods, as well as shortfalls in the current outbreak control interventions, increase the potential for further propagation of the outbreak. There is a need to scale up implementation of all conventional cholera control measures, including deploying new tools such as oral cholera vaccine.