This Weekly Bulletin focuses on public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 62 events in the region. This week’s main articles cover key new and ongoing events, including:
- Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 in Ghana
- Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Floods in Congo
- Humanitarian crisis in Democratic Republic of the Congo
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:
The response to the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo suffered a major setback in the past week, with the attacks and killing of responders in Biakato Mines and Mangina. These attacks and the ensuing civil unrest have severely impacted on Ebola response activities, with most operations in the security-affected areas temporarily suspended. These security incidents only serve to facilitate deeper penetration of Ebola infections in the community, and the resultant resurgence of the outbreak. WHO and all the partners remain committed and dedicated to seeing the end of the EVD outbreak, however, this requires access to the affected communities and safety of the responders.
Ghana reported four confirmed paralytic cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) during the reporting week, in addition to isolating cVDPV2 in two environmental samples. In similar events in the African region, paralytic cases of cVDPV2 were reported in Democratic Republic of the Congo (5), Benin (4) and Togo (2). Outbreaks of cVDPV2 appear to be gaining a foothold in the African region, with the events spreading from conflict-affected countries (initial hotspots) to relatively stable countries. Health authorities in the African region need to take bold and decisive measures to address this situation at this early stage before it becomes worse and thus a major public health problem.