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DR Congo: Cholera and Measles Outbreaks - Jan 2013

DR Congo
Disaster types

While the last major cholera outbreak in DR Congo's western provinces was in 2011, cholera is endemic in the eastern provinces, which experienced a resurgence of cases starting in July 2012. Over the course of 2013, ongoing violence and displacement in North and South Kivu, Katanga and Orientale provinces limited access to health care and life-saving vaccination services. Between January and September, more than 21,000 cases of cholera and 376 deaths were recorded with 99% of these cases in the eastern provinces. During the same time frame, more than 74,299 cases of measles and 1,160 deaths had been reported. (WHO, 31 Oct 2013)

In 2013, Katanga was the most-affected province with 13,726 cholera cases and 348 deaths, compared to 6,930 cases and 223 deaths in 2012 (OCHA, 15 Jan 2014). On 7 Dec 2013, the governor of Sud-Kivu officialy declared a cholera epidemic outbreak. More than 6,200 cases had been reported since the beginning of the year. (OCHA, 11 Dec 2013) Country-wide, a total of 26,440 cases of cholera were reported in 2013 (UNICEF, 28 Jul 2014).

Between 1 Jan and 1 Dec 2013, 86,264 measles cases and 1,372 deaths were recorded (WHO, 20 Dec 2013).

By the end of July 2014, 10,551 cholera cases had been reported - almost half the number of cases reported during the same time in 2013 (19,032) (UNICEF, 28 Jul 2014). By October, the total number of cholera cases in 2014 stood at just over 14,000, compared to just over 21,000 in 2013 (UNICEF, 20 Oct 2014). By then end of 2014, a total of 19,305 cases had been recorded (UNICEF, 29 Jan 2015).

Since the beginning of the year, 19,705 cases have been reported in DRC. As of 29 November, the following provinces had reported cases: South Kivu (4,906), ex-Katanga (4,565), Maniema (3,971), North Kivu (3,294) and ex-Oriental (2,969). A high number of cases are still reported in the province of South Kivu where the situation is particularly worrying because of the presence of camps hosting refugees from Burundi. Furthermore, there are concerns that the epidemic in Maniema could spread to other provinces of the country as observed during the 2011 cholera epidemic when areas of Kinshasa were also affected. (WHO,15 Dec 2015)

The protracted outbreak of cholera in [DRC] is still going on unabated ... The situation has continued to worsen with numerous pockets of outbreaks occurring along the Congo River...Since the beginning of the year up to 15 April 2017, a total of 9,160 cases including 315 deaths (case fatality rate of 3.4%) have been reported. Meanwhile in 2016, a total of 29,352 cases, including 817 deaths (case fatality rate of 2.8%) were notified nationwide. With these, the cumulative number of cases and deaths reported since onset of the outbreak is 38,511 cases including 1,419 deaths (case fatality rate of 3.68%). In 2017, the provinces of Tanganyika, South Kivu, Ecuador, Maindombe, Central Kongo, and Tshopo have been the most affected. (WHO, 25 Apr 2017)

In spite of the observed reduction during the reporting week, the cholera outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo remains a concern, with a high weekly incidence and new areas being affected. The cholera epidemic is active in eleven provinces and 66 health zones. The outbreak appears to be following three major river and lake routes, suggesting that these water bodies play an important role in transmission. Towards the east of the country, the affected areas are along Lake Tanganyika and Lake Kivu and the disease appears to be moving towards Lake Albert in the north-east. In the central region, the disease is affecting areas along the internal lakes and along the Congo River, up to Kindu and Maniema. In the western central area, the disease is affecting areas along the Kasai River. (WHO, 23 Oct 2017)

Between W1 and W48, 50,579 suspected cholera cases including 1,083 deaths (Case-fatality ratio of 2.1%) are reported from 23 provinces and 225 health zones. To be noted that while this bulletin was prepared, the completeness rate of the database shared was not of 100%. However, the overall decrease of the reported cholera incidence is clear as the incidence reduces in several provinces (notably North Kivu, South Kivu, Kongo Central, Sankuru, Tanganyika, and Ituri). The epidemic is still expanding to new areas in the Great Kasai, despite an overall reduction in the cumulative incidence. (UNICEF, 15 Dec 2017)

The trend of the outbreak continues to improve nationwide. During week 2 of 2018, a total of 763 suspected cases and 14 deaths (CFR: 1.8%) were reported, compared to 1 022 suspected cases and 19 deaths (CFR: 1.9%) during week 1 of 2018. Most of the cases are reported from during this week are reported from Kinshasa (189 cases), North Kivu (272) and South Kivu (117). From 4-7 January 2018, a flooding event affected areas of Kinshasa that are currently reporting cholera cases. (WHO, 26 Jan 2018)

In week 25 of 2018, 288 suspected cases with 7 deaths (CFR-2.4%) were notified across the country compared to 557 suspected cases with 9 deaths (CFR-1.6%) reported in the previous week 24. During week 25, the provinces of Haut Katanga, Sankuru, Tanganyika, Maniema and Haut Lomani notified 76.4% of all suspected cases. A total of 14,286 cases with 155 deaths (CFR-1.1%) has been reported from week 1 to 25, 2018. (WHO, 6 Jul 2018)

In week 38 (week ending 23 September 2018), 724 cases with 18 deaths (CFR 2.5%) were reported from 12 out of 26 provinces. Six out of the total provinces that reported cases (Kasai Oriental, Tang anyika, Katanga, Kasai, Kongo Central, and Sankuru) reported 92% of the total cases. Since the beginning of 2018 to the week 38, a total of 21 112 cases were reported including 691 deaths (CFR 3.3%).There has been a trend of increasing cases since week 21. A similar trend was observed in the same period in 2017. (WHO, 5 Oct 2018)

Measles: Over 43 000 cases were reported in 2017. In weeks 1 and 2 of 2018, 713 cases and 13 deaths were reported, with a stable weekly number of cases since week 52 of 2017.The trend of the outbreak has decreased this week. Most of the suspected cases this week were reported from South Kivu province. (WHO, 26 Jan 2018)

From 2018 week 1 to week 35 (week ending 2 September 2018), 23 979 cases (of measles) with 273 deaths (CFR 1.1%) have been reported. During week 35, a total of 962 new cases were reported with nineteen deaths (CFR 1.98%). Epidemic zones are mainly focused in the eastern part of the country. (WHO, 5 Oct 2018)

  • Plan Stratégique Multisectoriel d’Elimination du Choléra en République Démocratique du Congo 2013 -2017 (29 Feb 2013)

Six hundred ninety-eight cases with 35 deaths (CFR: 5.0%) were reported in week 33 from 13 out of 26 provinces, an increase in cases compare to the previous week when 537 cases were reported. Five provinces (K. Oriental, South Kivu, Sankuru, Tanganyika and Kasai), reported 90.0% of the total cases in week 33. From week 1 to 33 of 2018, a total of 17 069 cases of cholera including 566 deaths (CFR 3.3 %) were reported. From week 1 of 2017, until week 22 of 2018, majority of cases were reported from endemic provinces; since week 23 of 2018 majority of the cases are reported from epidemic provinces. (WHO, 31 Aug 2018)

Health authorities in the southern Haut-Katanga province recorded 855 measles cases and 13 deaths since the start of October. Nearly 80 per cent of those infected are children younger than five years. Vaccination is underway in the mostaffected Kilwa and Pweto health zones. (OCHA, 22 Oct 2018)