This Weekly Bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 55 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key new and ongoing events, including:
- Meningococcal disease in Liberia
- Humanitarian crisis in Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Typhoid fever in Zimbabwe
- Cholera in Zimbabwe
- Cholera in Zambia
- Suspected Rift Valley fever 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. Since the beginning of the year, eight events have been closed including outbreaks of foodborne illness in Benin, influenza A H1N1 in Ghana, malaria in Kenya, CrimeanCongo haemorrhagic fever in Mauritania, meningitis and hepatitis E in Niger, dengue fever in Senegal, and anthrax in Zambia.
Major challenges include:
- The humanitarian situation in Democratic Republic of the Congo has continued to deteriorate, and the current level of assistance from national and international partners is insufficient to mount an adequate response. The recent upsurge in cholera cases in Kinshasa, with potential spread to other areas, is an additional concern, and response to this outbreak by national and international partners, including WHO, is ongoing.
- The outbreak of meningococcal disease in Liberia near the borders of Guinea and Sierra Leone is of concern due to the evidence of spread within Liberia and potential for cross-border spread. Continued scale up of response activities in Liberia and preparedness in the other two countries, combined with regular information sharing, is needed to prevent new cases and control the outbreak.