Jan. 17, 2019

Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo

Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo

Disease outbreak news: Update 
17 January 2019

The Ministry of Health (MoH), WHO and partners continue to respond to the ongoing Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in one of the most complex settings possible. A high number of cases are still being reported, most notably from the metropolitan areas of Katwa Health Zone during the past week. The decline in case incidence has continued in Beni; a positive indication of how effective the response can be despite multiple challenges.

Trends in the number of new cases occurring (Figure 1) reflect the continuation of the outbreak across a number of geographically dispersed areas. During the last 21 days (26 December 2018 through 15 January 2019), 79 new cases have been reported from 11 health zones (Figure 2), including: Katwa (36), Oicha (14), Butembo (11), Beni (4), Mabalako (4), Kalungata (3), Kyondo (3), Komanda (1), Musienene (1), Biena (1) and Manguredjipa (1). The latter is a newly affected health zone, although the case likely acquired the infection in Mabalako Health Zone.

As of 15 January 2019, there have been a total of 663 EVD cases 1(614 confirmed and 49 probable), including 407 deaths (overall case fatality ratio: 61%). Thus far, 237 people have been discharged from Ebola Treatment Centres (ETCs) and enrolled in a dedicated program for monitoring and supporting survivors. Among confirmed and probable cases with age and sex reported, 59% (391/661) were female and 30% (200/658) were children less than 18 years. This includes a high number of cases in infants aged less than one year (43) and 1-4 years (61).

All alerts in affected areas, in other provinces, and in neighbouring countries continue to be monitored and investigated. Since the last report was published, alerts were investigated in several provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. To date, EVD has been ruled out in all alerts outside the outbreak affected areas.

Figure 1: Confirmed and probable Ebola virus disease cases by week of illness onset, data as of 15 January 2019 (n=663)*

*Data in recent weeks are subject to delays in case confirmation and reporting, as well as ongoing data cleaning – trends during this period should be interpreted cautiously.


Figure 2: Confirmed and probable Ebola virus disease cases by health zone in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, Democratic Republic of the Congo, data as of 15 January 2019 (n=663)


Public health response

The MoH continues to strengthen response measures, with support from WHO and partners. Priorities include coordination, surveillance, contact tracing, laboratory capacity, infection prevention and control, clinical management of patients, vaccination, risk communication and community engagement, psychosocial support, safe and dignified burials, cross-border surveillance, and preparedness activities in neighbouring provinces and countries.

For detailed information about the public health response actions by WHO and partners, please refer to the latest situation reports published by the WHO Regional Office for Africa: