The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces has recently shown an increase in the number of cases reported by week, after many weeks of overall decline (Figure 1). This rise is not unexpected and likely due, in part, to the recently increased security challenges, including direct attacks on treatment centres, and pockets of community mistrust, which slowed some response activities in affected areas for a few days. While Katwa and Butembo remain major hotspots, clusters of cases with onward transmission have been reported in other health zones such as Mandima, Masereka and Vuhovi, which is concerning. Response teams are working actively in these areas to limit local transmission.
During the last 21 days (25 February – 17 March 2019), no new cases have been detected in nine of the 20 health zones that have been affected during the outbreak. Moreover, the outbreak is currently limited to 34 health areas within 11 health zones; 19% of the 128 health areas affected to date (Table 1 and Figure 2).
During this period, a total of 86 confirmed cases were reported from Katwa (35), Butembo (13), Mandima (12), Masereka (8), Vuhovi (6), Kalunguta (5), Kyondo (2), Lubero (2), Kyaina (1), Mabalako (1) and Biena (1).
As of 17 March 2019, a total of 960 EVD cases, including 895 confirmed and 65 probable cases, were reported.
A total of 603 deaths were reported (overall case fatality ratio 63%), including 538 deaths among confirmed cases. Of confirmed and probable cases with reported age and sex, 57% (542/959) were female, and 30% (287/960) were children aged less than 18 years. Three additional healthcare worker infections were confirmed this week; cumulatively 77 healthcare worker infections have been reported, including 26 deaths.
The Ministry of Health (MoH), WHO and partners continue to monitor and investigate all alerts in affected areas, in other provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in neighbouring countries. To date, all reported alerts outside the outbreak affected areas have been investigated or laboratory tested to rule out EVD.