Ebola continues to spread in DR Congo "with moderate intensity": WHO

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-22 04:45:52|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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GENEVA, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Ebola is continuing to spread in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with moderate intensity, and it poses a high risk of further chains of transmission in the affected communities, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Thursday.

Katwa and Butembo, both located in northeastern DRC, remain major zones of health concern, while simultaneously small clusters continue to occur in various geographically dispersed locations, the WHO said.

In the last three weeks, 79 new cases have been reported from 40 health areas within 12 health zones, no new cases have been reported from Beni, one of the epicenters of the outbreak. The WHO considered this a significant achievement given the intensity of previous outbreak in this area.

However, other indicators such as the continued high proportion of deaths and persistent delays in case detection, suggest a high risk of further chains of transmission in affected communities.

The WHO thus recommends that response teams maintain a high level of vigilance across all areas with declining cases and contact tracing activity. In areas with active cases, the teams should rapidly detect new cases and prevent onward transmission.

WHO statistics show that as of Feb. 19, 848 Ebola cases, including 783 confirmed and 65 probable cases, have been reported in the DRC, with 529 deaths.

Meanwhile, the WHO's assessment on the DRC Ebola outbreak remains unchanged: national and regional risk levels remain very high and global risk levels low.

As the outbreak is affecting primarily the northeastern provinces of the DRC bordering Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan, the WHO particularly warns of the risk of Ebola transmission at national and regional levels due to extensive travel between the affected areas, the rest of the country, and neighboring countries.