Battle against Ebola in DR Congo gathers pace amid decrease in number of confirmed cases
A trend of steady decrease in confirmed Ebola cases in northeastern Congo-Kinshasa (DR Congo), in North Kivu and Ituri provinces has been recorded since August 2019. The progress was announced as health officials measured the key indicators of the outbreak; all new cases being known contacts, a lower number of community deaths and a shorter delay of symptom onset to admission. Despite the positive development, the outbreak still remains as an emergency to the country. As of 18 November, there were 3,296 cases and of those, 3,178 were confirmed cases which have slowly declined to just under 50 cases a week from early November. For the first time since September 2018, a treatment centre in Butembo, 57km (35 miles) south of Beni, had also discharged its last patient.
In other development, WHO has also prequalified the world’s first Ebola vaccine called Ervebo, made by Merck and Co. Inc and it is estimated to become widely available in 2020. Currently, more than 250,000 people in Congo-Kinshasa have been vaccinated under the compassionate use protocol. The vaccine will be an official defence for the virus and its success will mark a historic milestone in the battle against the virus. Besides vaccine, more hygiene screening stations were set up and contact tracing improved to break the remaining transmission cases. Safeture has consistently providing updates on Ebola virus and other diseases via regular incident reports as well as its weekly Disease and Health Overviews.