WHO reports 3000-plus Ebola cases in DRC and 2,035 dead

Sept. 3, 2019
WHO calls on all partners to fulfill promises to communities

As the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo reaches 3000-plus cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for the full force of all partners to respond and increase their presence in the field to stop Ebola and to address one of the largest and most complex humanitarian crises in the world.

With a population of 80 million, WHO says the Democratic Republic of the Congo has more than 4 million displaced and is home to the world’s second largest food crisis with 13 million people food insecure. Since January 2019, there have been outbreaks of cholera (15,331 cases, 287 deaths), measles (161,397 cases, 3,117 deaths) and malaria, the leading cause of death in the DRC, which kills more than 48,000 people every year.

The outbreak was declared on August 1, 2018. As of September 3, there have been 3,036 cases of Ebola, with 2,035 deaths and 908 survivors. Most of the cases are in North Kivu province. In the past 10 weeks, an average of 80 people per week are sickened by the virus.

More than 200,000 people have been vaccinated against Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, along with health and frontline workers in Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi. Two therapeutic treatments being used in the country as part of a clinical trial have shown to save 9 of 10 lives if used at the right time.

More than 89 million screenings within the country and at international borders have helped control the spread, by identifying and providing care to anyone with symptoms. On 29 August, Ugandan health officials announced confirmation of another case in the country: a child who had crossed over from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As this alert underlines, regional preparedness will remain key.

“Our commitment to the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is that we will work alongside them to stop the Ebola outbreak,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a public announcement. “Our commitment also means strengthening health systems to give them all the other things they need. Building strong systems is what will protect people, communities and the world.”

Dr. Tedros accompanies United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on his mission to the country last weekend, along with senior officials, including Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

“We strive towards a much more united approach and call on NGOs and UN partners to continue to accelerate all activities,” said Dr. Moeti. “Everyone has a role to play and we each must be accountable for what we signed up to do, only then will we end this outbreak.”