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Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo

The response by WHO and partners to the ongoing Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak continues despite disruptions to key services due to security incidents taking place in Beni and Butembo during the recent election on 30 December 2018. In order to ensure the safety of all staff deployed, as a precautionary measure, operations were scaled back for a few hours on election day. All normal operations have been fully restored as of 1 January 2019. After an intensification of field activities in early December, notable improvements can be observed in many areas, notably a decrease in cases in Beni. However, hard-earned progress could still be lost to rebound levels of transmission resulting from prolonged periods of insecurity hampering containment efforts.
During the reporting period (27 December 2018 – 2 January 2019), 16 newly confirmed cases were reported from Beni (two), Butembo (five), Katwa (three), Komanda (one), Mabalako (one), and Oicha (four) health zones (Figure 1). As of 2 January 2019, there have been a total of 609 EVD cases1 (561 confirmed and 48 probable, Figure 2), including 370 deaths and 208 people having recovered. Overall, cases are occurring in localised hotspots within 16 health zones found in North Kivu and Ituri. Amongst confirmed and probable cases, the case load has been highest in females aged 15-49 who are eligible for vaccination (i.e. non-pregnant), and also females aged 50 years and older (Figure 3). Amongst confirmed and probable cases, 61% (374/609) were female (median age = 28) and were predominantly older than male cases (median age = 25.5). Of note, 16% (96/607) of cases were among children less than five years old, and 7% (41/607) were infants less than one year old. Most of the cases among children aged five years old or more were from Beni, 48% (46/96). There were 29 cases among pregnant women, of which 14 were from Beni. Fifteen of the 29 cases were reportedly breastfeeding women.

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