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DR Congo: Plague Outbreak - Apr 2022

DR Congo
Disaster types

On 4 April 2022, the Provincial Health Division (DPS) of the province of Ituri declared a resurgence of the Bubonic Plague epidemic in the health zone of Rethy, in the territory of Djugu. According to the authorities, the history of this disease in the Rethy health zone goes back to more than 9 outbreaks, including this one. The eighth one dates back to January 2022 in the UKETHA health area. On 7 April 2022, the epidemiological situation covering 26 March to 4 April was as follows from DPS data: 31 notified cases of which only 15 have been tested, 2 deaths and nearly 2,000 contacts listed in the absence of local reactivity. The epicenter of the plague disease is in the Health Areas of Lokpa, Rassia, and Uketha, where the 3 confirmed cases are located. These three health areas are in the Rethy health zone, Djugu territory, in ITURI Province.

Between 4 and 16 April 2022, 27 suspected cases in addition to the above were notified by the Lokpa Health Centre but in the absence of testing, the confirmation of cases remains very low and the level of vulnerability is underestimated. The absence of partners in the Rethy Health Zone apart from the local branch of the DRC Red Cross, MEDAIR, and MALTESER, as well as the lack of materials, greatly limits the response and the establishment of effective disease control and containment system.

This health zone of Rethy is in a permanent state of insecurity, which is at the root of the lack of partners and is subject to the internal displacement of the population. Populations fled Rethy to Fataki in 2021 following clashes from November to December and then from Fataki to Rethy following attacks in Rethy between armed groups in February 2022. There is a likelihood that population flows are linked to cases and/or influence the spread of the disease. In the Ngri Mandefu Health areas, for example, 8,306 were displaced to the Mbr'bu, Bale, and Gudjo Health Areas, following clashes between the military and armed men in Dhera locality on 30 March. In total, the Rethy Health Zone has 60,875 IDPs from other health areas according to an OCHA report of 7 March 2022, and 59,921 people who had left Rethy and have now returned. (IFRC, 28 Apr 2022)

As of 30 June 2022, the information communicated by MoH on the epidemiological situation show a suspected cumulative number of 400 cases with one (01) pneumonic case in Lokpa, compared to 58 when the Emergency Action Plan (EPoA) was issued on 22 April 2022. Pneumonic case was officially confirmed by MoH on 27 May 2022, thanks to rare diagnostic test available at the health Zone. (IFRC, 29 Jul 2022)