This Weekly Bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 72 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key new and ongoing events, including:
- Anthrax (probable) in Lesotho
- Vaccine derived poliovirus type 2 (environmental sample) in Cameroon
- Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Cholera in Zambia
- Chikungunya in 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 Ministry of Health in Lesotho has reported a probable outbreak of anthrax in the outskirts of Maseru, the capital city, following an epizootic confirmed by the veterinary authorities. This event has quickly raised concerns in the sub- region, including potential implications for trade. The responsible authorities in Lesotho need to act swiftly to contain this outbreak while the neighbouring countries need to improve preparedness and readiness measures, and act judiciously in response to the event, in line with provisions of the International Health Regulations (2005) and the Terrestrial Animal Health Code.
A circulating vaccine derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) has been isolated in an environment sample in Mada health district, Far North Province, Cameroon. The isolated virus has been linked to the ongoing cVDPV2 strain circulating in neighbouring Nigeria, which originated in Jigawa State. This event is important in view of the fact that poliovirus, targeted for global eradication, spreads easily and across large distances. To that effect, all countries, particularly those in the Lake Chad Basin, are urged to step up acute flaccid paralysis surveillance and should maintain a high immunization coverage to minimize introduction of any new virus.