Ebola cases climb by 44 as vaccine trial affirms high efficacy

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
By Paul Martin

Lisa Schnirring | News Editor
Apr 15, 2019

The pace of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Ebola outbreak showed no sign of slowing over the weekend, with another 20-case day, but with some good preliminary news about the efficacy of the vaccine, which officials hope to parlay into their pitches for community members to be vaccinated.

And in new developments today, the country’s health ministry reported 13 new cases and said the number of people vaccinated topped the 100,000 mark.

Baby, mom, health worker among fatalities
In its daily updates the DRC’s health ministry reported 20 cases on Apr 23, 11 cases yesterday, and 13 cases today. All are from the current hot spots, with Katwa by far the hardest hit, with 30 infections. The other cases were reported in Mandima (4), Beni (2), Vuhovi (2), Butembo (2), Mabalako (2), Musienene (1), and Oicha (1). Health officials are still investigating 231 suspected cases.

The gush of new infections pushes the DRC’s Ebola total to 1,264 cases, 1,198 of them confirmed and 66 listed as probable.

The death toll from the disease also shot higher, with 42 more fatalities reported, including a stillborn baby in Beni whose mother died at the Ebola treatment center.

Also, one of the people who died is a health worker in Katwa, an unvaccinated nurse who had contact with a confirmed patient and hid at home when her symptoms began where she received care from her coworkers. Her infection lifts the number of infected health workers to 89, including 32 deaths.

Of the latest fatalities, 24 people died from their infections in the community and 18 died at Ebola treatment centers. The total deaths in outbreak have now topped 800, reaching 814.

The health ministry also shared new details in light of pushing past the 100,000 vaccination mark, noting that 27,766 of those immunized are frontline health workers, 26,328 are high-risk contacts of confirmed cases, and 46,376 are contacts.

Officials also said the surge in new cases in Butembo and Katwa is partly explained by the temporary pause in vaccination activities surrounding March violence against the treatment center. The vaccination hiatus prevented 45 vaccination rings from opening around confirmed cases.

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