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WHO AFRO Outbreaks and Other Emergencies, Week 47: 18 - 24 November 2019 Data as reported by: 17:00; 24 November 2019

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This Weekly Bulletin focuses on public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 61 events in the region. This week’s main articles cover key new and ongoing events, including:

  • Lassa fever in Sierra Leone
  • Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Cholera in Ethiopia
  • Humanitarian crisis in Mali.

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 recent events that have largely been controlled and thus closed.

Major issues and challenges include:

  • An outbreak of Lassa fever has been reported in The Netherlands, with origin in Sierra Leone, where a cluster of cases have been identified. Contacts have also been identified in several other countries. This event has highlighted the ease with which infectious diseases can spread across nations and the need for countries to maintain a high level of alert at all times. All countries, especially those in the African region, should maintain the impetus generated with the occurrence of major Ebola epidemics, to ramp up measures for outbreak prevention, preparedness and control.

  • The Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to improve, with the number of new cases greatly declining to a low level and transmission limited to few areas. While this trend is encouraging, the gains made so far could be easily eroded by the kind of insecurity and civil unrest experienced during the week. It is hoped that the security situation will normalize to allow Ebola responders to reach all parts of remote communities where transmission has persisted.