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WHO AFRO Outbreaks and Other Emergencies, Week 5: 27 January - 2 February 2020 Data as reported by: 17:00; 2 February 2020

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This Weekly Bulletin focuses on public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 70 events in the region. This week’s main articles cover key new and ongoing events, including:

  • Measles in Seychelles
  • Yellow fever in Uganda
  • Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Lassa fever in Liberia
  • Humanitarian crisis in Cameroon

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:

  • Liberia is currently experiencing an increasing incidence of Lassa fever cases, a seasonal phenomenon usually seen between January and June. However, since 2016, the number of recorded Lassa fever cases has been increasing each year. A similar situation is being seen in Nigeria where recurrent large outbreaks have occurred in the recent past. This trend is of great concern and calls for increased efforts to scale up preparedness and response actions to mitigate the current situation. Importantly, the national authorities in Liberia and the other countries where Lassa fever is endemic need to increase investments in longer-term preventive measures, including effective vector control and environmental management, social mobilization and community engagement strategies.

  • The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo continues, with low level of transmission. The security situation has remained fragile, with spikes of incidents being reported. Despite the low number of cases being recorded, the EVD outbreak is still serious and has the potential to escalate. There is a need to maintain the ongoing outbreak control interventions as well as the required inputs until the outbreak is completely controlled.