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WHO AFRO Outbreaks and Other Emergencies, Week 1: 30 December 2019 - 5 January 2020 Data as reported by: 17:00; 5 January 2020

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Overview

This Weekly Bulletin focuses on public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 67 events in the region. This week’s main articles cover key ongoing events, including:

  • Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Cholera in Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso.

For each of these events, a brief description, followed by public health measures implemented and an interpretation of the situation is provided.

A table is provided at the end of the bulletin with information on all new and ongoing public health events currently being monitored in the region, as well as recent events that have largely been controlled and thus closed.

Major issues and challenges include:

Despite the number of new confirmed EVD cases recorded in Democratic Republic of the Congo during the reporting week decreasing slightly the reinfection of cases in previous hotspots (Butembo, Katwa and Kalunguta) where the outbreak appeared to be under control is a concern. It is imperative to strengthen contact tracing, vaccination, early case investigations and isolation of cases to prevent new chains of transmission in these highly populated zones in order to prevent further transmission.

The main propagating factors for the cholera outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo include insufficient potable water, and poor sanitary and hygiene facilities among populations in many of the affected communities. Insufficient community activities to fight cholera, especially in the cholera- endemic provinces of the east of the country (South Kivu, North Kivu, Haut Katanga, Haut Lomami and Tanganyika) are contributing to the persistence of the outbreak. In addition, insecurity in certain health zones, particularly in North Kivu, leads to poor access to populations and limits the response activities in some of the affected areas.