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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic

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    Posted: December 20 2018 at 2:27am
Well it seemed about time to update this (after all, the numbers have entered the second tier of the poll http://www.avianflutalk.com/poll-how-large-will-the-current-ebola-outbreak-be_topic38553_post274794.html#274794) and about time I used the actual ebola topic room.

Up to 319 people dead as Congo Ebola outbreak worsens

By Bethlehem Feleke and Susan Scutti, CNN

Updated 1024 GMT (1824 HKT) December 19, 2018

One of the deadliest Ebola outbreaks in history continues to worsen in the Democratic Republic of Congo with as many as 319 people now dead.
The Ministry of Health said Tuesday that 542 Ebola cases had been recorded in the province of North Kivu -- 494 of which have been confirmed. Of the 319 believed to have died from the virus so far, 271 have been confirmed.
On average, Ebola -- which causes fever, severe headache and in some cases hemorrhaging -- kills about half of those infected, but fatality rates in individual outbreaks have varied.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said efforts to contain the outbreak have been hampered due to "non-engagement" from local communities and armed conflict in the region.

North Kivu, which includes the cities of Beni, Kalunguta and Mabalako, remains the epicenter of the outbreak, though cases have been reported in neighboring Ituri province, according to the WHO. The two provinces are among the most populated in the nation and border Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.

The public health agency estimates that more than a million refugees and internally displaced people are traveling through and out of North Kivu and Ituri, which could hasten the spread of the virus further.
The death of Ebola?

The death of Ebola? 01:32
The Congo outbreak is the second-deadliest ever, behind only in West Africa in 2014, when the virus killed more than 11,000 people. It is Congo's 10th epidemic since 1976, and second this year.

Source and video: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/18/health/ebola-democratic-republic-of-congo-intl/index.html
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EdwinSm, Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 20 2018 at 10:55pm
From that poll,it is now in the bracket that the majority expected (ie 300-1000 limited regional spread), and had a long way to go to reach the "regional epidemic".

This Ebola outbreak seems to be slowly trudging along, with no end in sight, but it has not exploded like the West African (2014) outbreak.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 10 2019 at 4:57pm
UPDATE

Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo

Disease outbreak news: Update
10 January 2019

WHO and partners continue to respond to the ongoing Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in one of the most complex settings possible. A decline in case incidence has been seen in Beni, the former epicentre. This is a strong positive indication of how effective the response can be despite multiple challenges. However, in Beni and elsewhere, trends must be interpreted cautiously, as delayed detection of cases is expected following recent temporary disruption in response activities due to insecurity. Nevertheless, WHO and partners remain committed, under the government’s leadership and through collaboration across agencies, to addressing challenges and ending the outbreak.

As of 8 January 2019, there have been a total of 628 EVD cases1 (580 confirmed and 48 probable), including 383 deaths (overall case fatality ratio: 61%). Thus far, 222 people have recovered, been discharged from an Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC) and enrolled in a dedicated program for monitoring and supporting survivors.

During the last 21 days (19 December 2018 to 8 January 2019), cases have been reported from ten health zones where the outbreak remains active, including: Katwa (18), Butembo (16), Oicha (13), Beni (13), Kalungata (6), Mabalako (5), Komanda (3), Musienene (2), Kyondo (1) and Nyankunde (1). Overall, cases have occurred in localised hotspots within 16 health zones found in North Kivu and Ituri provinces (Figure 1). Surveillance activities are being maintained to rapidly detect resurgences or reintroduction events in all areas.

Trends in numbers of new cases occurring (Figure 2) reflect the continuation of the outbreak across these geographically dispersed areas, with encouraging declines in case incidence in areas such as Beni. Hard-earned progress could still be lost from prolonged periods of insecurity hampering containment efforts.

Amongst confirmed and probable EVD cases, 61% (385/628) were female and 30% (189/628) were children aged less than 18 years. This includes a high number of cases in infants aged less than 1 year (38) and 1-4 years (58). While investigations to understand the risk factors for this disproportionate burden are ongoing, response teams continue to prioritise these population groups to mitigate, wherever possible, the risk of transmission.

All alerts in affected areas, in other provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 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, South Sudan, Rwanda and in a traveller returning from Burundi to Sweden. To date, EVD has been ruled out in all alerts outside the outbreak affected areas. International travellers who may have come into contact with the virus, including a doctor who returned to the United States of America after providing medical assistance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are also being followed closely; all remain asymptomatic.

Source and LOTS OF additional info: https://www.who.int/csr/don/10-january-2019-ebola-drc/en/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 12 2019 at 10:53am
UPDATE   May I draw everyone's attention to the final paragraph thereof; it is quite revealing.

Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo: Disease outbreak news, 10 January 2019
Report
from World Health Organization
Published on 10 Jan 2019

WHO and partners continue to respond to the ongoing Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in one of the most complex settings possible. A decline in case incidence has been seen in Beni, the former epicentre. This is a strong positive indication of how effective the response can be despite multiple challenges. However, in Beni and elsewhere, trends must be interpreted cautiously, as delayed detection of cases is expected following recent temporary disruption in response activities due to insecurity. Nevertheless, WHO and partners remain committed, under the government’s leadership and through collaboration across agencies, to addressing challenges and ending the outbreak.

As of 8 January 2019, there have been a total of 628 EVD cases1 (580 confirmed and 48 probable), including 383 deaths (overall case fatality ratio: 61%). Thus far, 222 people have recovered, been discharged from an Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC) and enrolled in a dedicated program for monitoring and supporting survivors.

During the last 21 days (19 December 2018 to 8 January 2019), cases have been reported from ten health zones where the outbreak remains active, including: Katwa (18), Butembo (16), Oicha (13), Beni (13), Kalungata (6), Mabalako (5), Komanda (3), Musienene (2), Kyondo (1) and Nyankunde (1). Overall, cases have occurred in localised hotspots within 16 health zones found in North Kivu and Ituri provinces (Figure 1). Surveillance activities are being maintained to rapidly detect resurgences or reintroduction events in all areas.

Trends in numbers of new cases occurring (Figure 2) reflect the continuation of the outbreak across these geographically dispersed areas, with encouraging declines in case incidence in areas such as Beni. Hard-earned progress could still be lost from prolonged periods of insecurity hampering containment efforts.

Amongst confirmed and probable EVD cases, 61% (385/628) were female and 30% (189/628) were children aged less than 18 years. This includes a high number of cases in infants aged less than 1 year (38) and 1-4 years (58). While investigations to understand the risk factors for this disproportionate burden are ongoing, response teams continue to prioritise these population groups to mitigate, wherever possible, the risk of transmission.

All alerts in affected areas, in other provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 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, South Sudan, Rwanda and in a traveller returning from Burundi to Sweden. To date, EVD has been ruled out in all alerts outside the outbreak affected areas. International travellers who may have come into contact with the virus, including a doctor who returned to the United States of America after providing medical assistance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are also being followed closely; all remain asymptomatic.

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:

Ebola situation reports: Democratic Republic of the Congo

WHO risk assessment

WHO reviewed its risk assessment for the outbreak and the risk remains very high at the national and regional levels; the global risk level remains low. This outbreak of EVD is affecting north-eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo bordering Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan. There is a potential risk for transmission of EVD at the national and regional levels due to extensive travel between the affected areas, the rest of the country, and neighbouring countries for economic and personal reasons as well as due to insecurity. The country is concurrently experiencing other epidemics (e.g. cholera, vaccine-derived poliomyelitis, malaria), and a long-term humanitarian crisis. Additionally, the security situation in North Kivu and Ituri at times limits the implementation of response activities.

As the risk of national and regional spread is very high, it is important for neighbouring provinces and countries to enhance surveillance and preparedness activities. The International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) Emergency Committee has advised that failing to intensify these preparedness and surveillance activities would lead to worsening conditions and further spread. WHO will continue to work with neighbouring countries and partners to ensure that health authorities are alerted and are operationally prepared to respond.

WHO advice

International traffic: WHO advises against any restriction of travel to, and trade with, the Democratic Republic of the Congo based on the currently available information. There is currently no licensed vaccine to protect people from the Ebola virus. Therefore, any requirements for certificates of Ebola vaccination are not a reasonable basis for restricting movement across borders or the issuance of visas for passengers leaving the Democratic Republic of the Congo. WHO continues to closely monitor and, if necessary, verify travel and trade measures in relation to this event. Currently, no country has implemented travel measures that significantly interfere with international traffic to and from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Travellers should seek medical advice before travel and should practice good hygiene.

For more information, see:

    WHO Director-General concludes New Year visit to Ebola-affected areas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Women join hands to oust Ebola from the Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Summary report for the SAGE meeting of October 2018
    Statement on the October 2018 meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee on the Ebola virus disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
    WHO Interim recommendation Ebola vaccines
    WHO recommendations for international travellers related to the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – Operational readiness and preparedness in neighbouring countries
    Ebola virus disease fact sheet

1Data 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.


Source: [url]https://reliefweb.int/report/democratic-republic-congo/ebola-virus-disease-democratic-republic-congo-disease-outbreak-32
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2019 at 1:09am
World's 2nd-deadliest Ebola outbreak reaches 600 confirmed cases

By Morgan Winsor

LONDON — Jan 15, 2019, 6:09 AM ET



The second-largest, second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history has reached 600 confirmed cases in five months, health officials said.

Since the outbreak was declared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Aug. 1, a total of 649 people have reported symptoms of hemorrhagic fever in the country's northeastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri. Among those cases, 600 have tested positive for Ebola virus disease, which causes an often-fatal type of hemorrhagic fever, according to Monday night's bulletin from the country's health ministry.

The growing outbreak has a case fatality rate of around 61 percent. There have been 396 deaths thus far, including 347 people who died from confirmed cases of Ebola. The other deaths are from probable cases, the ministry said.

On average, about half of all Ebola patients succumb to the deadly virus, though case fatality rates have varied from 25 to 90 percent in past outbreaks, according to the World Health Organization, the global health arm of the United Nations.

The ongoing outbreak is one of the world's worst, second only to the 2014-2016 outbreak in multiple West African nations that infected 28,652 people and killed 11,325, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This is also the 10th outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the most severe that the Central African nation has seen since 1976, when scientists first identified the virus near the eponymous Ebola River.

Ebola virus disease, which has a relatively long incubation period of approximately eight to 21 days, is transmitted through contact with blood or secretions from an infected person, either directly or through contaminated surfaces, needles or medical equipment.

The two provinces where cases in the latest outbreak are being reported share porous borders with South Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda, raising the risk of national and regional spread.

Health workers are facing a number of other challenges to contain the virus, including sporadic attacks from armed groups operating in the mineral-rich, volatile borderlands as well as resistance from the local population in an area that never before had been affected by an Ebola outbreak.

However, this is the first time that a vaccine for prevention and therapeutic treatments are available for use in an Ebola outbreak. The vaccine, which was developed by American pharmaceutical company Merck, has proved effective against the country's previous outbreak in the western province of Equateur.

Nearly 60,000 people have been vaccinated in the outbreak zone since Aug. 8, according to the country's health ministry, which has said that the number of Ebola cases would probably have already surpassed 10,000 if it weren't for the vaccination teams.

Still, the ministry has warned that the epidemic is expected to last for "several" more months and the risk of transmission will remain high.


Source:   ABC News https://abcnews.go.com/International/worlds-2nd-deadliest-ebola-outbreak-reaches-600-confirmed/story?id=60383138
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CRS, DrPH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 8:40pm
^I'm really amazed that we have heard so little about this outbreak in the popular press! We hear "crickets" in the US news channels about this.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 8 hours 5 minutes ago at 3:10pm

Ebola cases in Congo expected to double amid fears outbreak could cross borders

With health system at breaking point, uncertainty over how virus is being transmitted prompts fears it could range beyond DRC
Global development is supported by
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
About this content

Rebecca Ratcliffe

Fri 18 Jan 2019 11.57 GMT
Last modified on Fri 18 Jan 2019 18.30 GMT

The number of Ebola cases recorded each day in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is expected to more than double, with concern mounting that uncertainty over how the virus is being transmitted could result in it spreading to neighbouring countries.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) reiterated its warning that there is a very high risk of the outbreak spreading not only across DRC but also to Uganda, Rwanda and even South Sudan. The heightened danger of transmission is due to extensive travel between the affected areas.

Efforts to contain the DRC outbreak were hampered after violence related to December’s elections halted prevention work. About 30 health facilities were targeted by protesters in Beni, while efforts to trace anyone who has had contact with the virus were partially suspended due to security concerns.

From October to December, six cases were recorded daily across all affected areas in the east, but numbers are increasing, said Jean-Philippe Marcoux, Mercy Corps’ country director for DRC.

“Now it’s doubling – it’s very possible that it can double again,” said Marcoux. “If we don’t significantly increase the resources, it will keep increasing. It will spread progressively to other health areas and it will be there for a long time.”

Two health centres supported by Mercy Corps are being rebuilt after they were burned to the ground by protesters over the Christmas period. Protesters were angry at a decision to postpone the presidential election in some areas of the country.

Though most of Mercy Corps’ work resumed in January, activities are still hampered by instability, the presence of armed groups and shortages of trained health professionals. Alongside the Ebola crisis, DRC is also experiencing outbreaks of cholera, polio and malaria, according to the WHO, piling more pressure on the country’s overstretched health system.

In some areas, approximately half of recent cases recorded were nosocomial – meaning that transmission occurred in health centres – said Marcoux.

“That is an indication that much more needs to be done at the level of health centres to prevent infection from spreading,” he said.

Marcoux added that greater funding is required for training and monitoring of health workers, and to do preventative community outreach work in areas where it is feared the disease could spread.

There are also concerns that, in some areas, the source of transmission is unclear in up to half of recent cases.
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As such cases increase, there is a growing risk of unsafe burial practices among communities that have not received specialist support from contact-tracing teams.

Since the outbreak began in August, the WHO has recorded 668 confirmed or probable cases and 410 deaths. Since 1 December, more than a third of cases have occurred in children under 15. Of these, 16 cases were in babies under 12 months.

“If no more is done this will spread to other areas within DRC, and spread to neighbouring countries that are close to affected areas – Uganda, Rwanda, even South Sudan,” said Marcoux.

It is expected the disease will be present for at least another nine to 12 months, he added.

In a situation report, the WHO warned the outbreak was at a critical stage: “The persistence of insecurity threatens to reverse recent progress achieved around disease hotspots such as Beni and Butembo.”

Source (The Guardian is highly respected by the way) https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/jan/18/ebola-cases-congo-expected-to-double-fears-outbreak-could-cross-borders-world-health-organization-drc
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