ProMED: Ebola cases spike in DRC after security issues disrupt response efforts

17 Dec 2019


UNMEER, Simon Ruf / Flickr cc

Epidemics can occur anywhere, at any time.

We publish regular updates, produced by Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMED), on outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases to keep you informed on the frequency and impact of our priority diseases.

ProMED is the largest publicly-available system conducting global reporting of infectious diseases outbreaks, with ProMED staff, moderators and team members scanning for, reviewing and posting information relating to global health security from official health reports and media articles.

The below post contains information from health reports, news articles, and academic papers relating to our priority diseases, compiled together by ProMED. Content below may be edited from original ProMED posts for style and length.

These posts provide an overview of disease outbreak activity over the past several weeks. For the latest information relating to outbreaks of infectious diseases, please visit the ProMED website.



Democratic Republic of Congo

Outbreak Update

27 new confirmed cases were reported from 4-10 Dec 2019 in the ongoing outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces. This is a substantial increase in the number of reported cases compared to the average of 7 confirmed cases for the previous 3 weeks.

The majority of these new cases are linked to a single chain of transmission, in which one individual was a potential source of infection for 17 people. This is the 2nd documentation of illness in this individual within a 6-month period. An investigation is ongoing to understand the circumstances around this case. Among the possibilities being investigated are reinfection and relapse.

As of 11 December 2019, the cumulative number of cases is 3343, of which 3225 are confirmed and 118 are probable. In total, there were 2210 deaths and 1088 people healed. 423 suspected cases are under investigation. The cumulative number of confirmed/probable cases among health workers is 164 (5% of all confirmed/probable cases), including 41 deaths.

256 899 people have been vaccinated with rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine, produced by Merck, and 1710 have been vaccinated with the second Ebola vaccine, produced by Johnson and Johnson.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the total number of travelers checked (temperature measurement) at the sanitary control points is 125 336 170.

Over the past couple of weeks, Ebola response activities have been severely disrupted in some areas due to security reasons. This includes a reduction in the volume of reported and investigated alerts and the number of contacts registered and followed. The volume of alerts from health zones affected by insecurity is lower than usual, and this has led to an overall reduction in the average number of alerts reported.


DRC  CMRE TeamDaily Epidemiological Situation Update (translated from French), 12 December 2019

WHODisease Outbreak News, 12 December 2019

See the full ProMED post




Saudi Arabia

Outbreak Update

On 14 December 2019, there were 2 newly confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection posted on the Saudi MOH MERS-CoV information page. No other cases have been reported since the last case update post from 5 December 2019.

The first newly confirmed case was a 66-year-old male in Abha city, Aseer region; the second was a 72-year-old female in Riyadh City. Both patients connection to camels is unknown.


Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health – 14 Dec 2019

See the full ProMED post


Lassa fever



Outbreak Update

From 1 January to 1 December 2019, a total of 4471 suspected cases have been reported from 23 states. Of these 793 were confirmed positive, 19 probable, and 3959 negative (not a case).

Since the onset of the 2019 outbreak, there have been 162 deaths in confirmed cases. Case fatality ratio in confirmed cases is 20.3%. The predominant age group affected is 21-40 years and the male-to-female ratio for confirmed cases is 1:1. A total of 19 healthcare workers have been affected across 10 states.

The National Lassa fever multi-partner, multi-sectoral Technical Working Group continues to coordinate response activities at all levels.


Nigeria Center for Disease Control – 1 Dec 2019

See the full ProMED post

portrait of autor