Nine new confirmed cases were reported from 15 to 21 January in the ongoing Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. All of the cases were reported from Beni Health Zone in North Kivu Province. Eight of the cases (8/9) were registered contacts prior to symptom onset; all nine had epidemiological links to a confirmed case.
In the past 21 days (1 to 21 January 2020), 35 confirmed cases were reported from 11 health areas within five active health zones in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces (Figure 1, Figure 2, Table 1): Beni (n=14), Mabalako (n=11), Butembo (n=5), Mambasa (n=4), and Musienene (n=1). Beni and Mabalako Health Zones remain the current hotspots of the outbreak, having reported 71% of confirmed cases in the past 21 days. Of the 35 people confirmed with EVD in the past 21 days, 24 were isolated and provided care within the first two days after the onset of symptoms, meaning they have better chances of survival and are less likely to infect contacts in the community. In the past 21 days, only one confirmed EVD death occurred in the community, outside of an Ebola treatment centre.
In recent weeks, contacts of confirmed cases have been offered the option of staying in supportive accommodation allocated for identified EVD contacts where they are provided with food and other essential goods. This allows for systematic daily follow-up of contacts and enables prompt isolation and provision of care to contacts that become symptomatic. As a result, the median time to isolation in the past 21 days has decreased from three days to one day (interquartile range 0-3).
The number of new confirmed cases reported each week has remained stable over the past six weeks, with approximately 14 new EVD cases reported weekly. In addition, improved surveillance indicators such as the proportion of cases listed as contacts and followed prior to detection, and the decreased time to isolation of cases are encouraging signs.
As of 21 January, a total of 3416 EVD cases were reported, including 3297 confirmed and 119 probable cases, of which 2238 cases died (overall case fatality ratio 66%) (Table 1). Of the total confirmed and probable cases, 56% (n=1912) were female, 28% (n=963) were children aged less than 18 years, and 5% (n=172) of all reported cases) were healthcare workers.