citation

"DRC Ebola News (10/11/19)." CSIS Commission on Strengthening America's Health Security, Center for Strategic and International Studies, October 11, 2019. Accessed October 11, 2019. https://healthsecurity.csis.org/articles/drc-ebola-news-10-11-19/

Daily update for October 11th, 2019 on the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Photo Credit: Mike Stone/Getty Images

There were 2 new cases reported on October 10th.

Response activities have resumed in Lwemba, Mandima, but remain limited.

At yesterday’s press conference in Geneva, Mike Ryan offered signs that the tide has turned.

DRC is preparing to introduce the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Ebola vaccine to protect those living outside of direct transmission zones.

Fears are spiking over the global spread of Ebola. Yet, what fails to make headlines is the massive flood of capital that the international emergency response to Ebola brings to DRC.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed marketing of a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) to detect Ebola virus antigens (proteins) in human blood.

Ebola tests resilience of Uganda’s cross-border trade

DRC MoH Statistics/WHO AFRO Dashboard (as of October 10)

WHO AFRO Dashboard

Total cases: 3,210

  • Confirmed cases: 3,096
  • Probable cases: 114
  • Suspected cases: 468

Deaths: 2,144

Vaccinated: 236,515

Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo

WHO

10/10/19

In mid-September, serious security incidents in Lwemba, Mandima, stalled outbreak response activities for more than two weeks. To improve confidence and community engagement in response activities, an open forum for discussion and reconciliation was held in Lwemba with partners and civil society last week. Improved access may result in enhanced case finding and contact tracing, which could result in an increase in the number of reported cases and contacts in the area. Additionally, there is a shift in hot spots from urban settings to more rural, hard-to-reach communities, across a more concentrated geographical area.

WHO: Ebola outbreak ‘back to where it began’

CIDRAP

10/10/19

Ryan’s signs included that only 27 health zones in the DRC are affected by the deadly virus, down from 207 at the outbreak’s peak. Secondly, the disease has been pushed out of the region’s bigger cities, including Katwa, Beni, and Butembo. Thirdly, the R0 (R-naught), how many cases each confirmed case infects on average, is now at an outbreak low of 0.69. Lastly, less than 1% of recent deaths have occurred in the community, which lowers the risk of transmission. “Now we have to kill the virus,” Ryan said. “And we can only end the outbreak if we maintain the response.

Ebola virus now squeezed into ‘corner’ of DR Congo: WHO

Al Jazeera

10/10/19

Mike Ryan said WHO and its partners were talking to communities to explain the differences between the vaccines and say who was entitled to which vaccine and why. “The two vaccines are complementary. They are designed to do different things in different populations,” he said. WHO has used a “ring” vaccination approach with the Merck vaccine, providing it only to the circle of people known to have been in contact with Ebola patients, and their known contacts. WHO is set to convene its Health Regulations Emergency Committee next week to assess whether the emergency designation should still stand.

Opinion: It’s time to talk about the Ebola gold rush

Devex

By Jonathan Shaw, Leslie Ruyle, 10/10/19

Some in DRC view Ebola as a moment of divine favor. One local resident shared he had been “praying that Ebola comes to Goma so we can make money too.” The role of money and its unequal distribution may not only be hurting the efforts but may be creating perverse economic incentives that are exacerbating the outbreak. In July, two Congolese Ebola response workers in the city of Beni were murdered. The death threats that preceded these murders were not rife with ignorance but dripping with jealousy over the lucrative salaries the staff were receiving from the World Health Organization. Daily wages for agricultural workers in this part of North Kivu average $1.87 for women and $2 for men. However, connected individuals who can obtain jobs with the relief effort are able to earn wages closer to $30-100/day, while foreign consultants have all expenses paid as well as earning typically more than $600/day. Surely, well trained local accountants, administrators, and educators are quitting stable careers to do menial jobs on outbreak response teams at these significantly higher salaries. Effects of these decisions will linger long after the disease is contained.

Virtually none of this money affects the livelihoods of those most vulnerable to the disease. Money swirls around as response teams in vehicles move from village to village with most of the dollars funding the enormous administrative apparatus of disease response. Beyond the doctors and international experts brought in to suppress the outbreak, the financial benefit to local political and business elites from the Ebola gold rush is significant.

FDA allows marketing of first rapid diagnostic test for detecting Ebola virus antigens

FDA

10/10/19

The OraQuick Ebola Rapid Antigen Test is the first rapid diagnostic test the FDA has allowed to be marketed in the U.S. for the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). The test provides a rapid, presumptive diagnosis that must be confirmed. Acting FDA Commissioner, Ned Sharpless, said “the ability to use this test to promptly make a presumptive Ebola diagnosis could help providers to more quickly isolate patients and begin treatments that can be potentially life-saving. Additionally, this device could be used to support safe and dignified burials while helping to reduce the risk of transmission during those burials.”

During the 2014 outbreak, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services declared that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection of Ebola virus. At the time, the FDA worked with CDC and test developers to make diagnostic tests, including the OraQuick Ebola Test, available through the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) pathway. This pathway allows the FDA to temporarily authorize the use of unapproved medical products to address a public health emergency when specific conditions are met.

Twitter

Tweet by IFRC Africa– 10/11/19

@IFRCAfrica

That #FridayFeeling!

Everyday we get a little closer to beating #Ebola. #DRCongo Red Cross volunteers take a moment to celebrate the hard work done so far in fighting the outbreak.

🎥 @jamielesueur @crrdc1

Tweet by Ibrahima Socé Fall– 10/11/19

@DamelSoceFall

Biakato Mines, where the recent cases of Ebola have been found. Our teams are following unmarked tracks through the forest, on foot and by Moto, to find every person who has come into contact with #Ebola Ebola virus so we can check their health and offer them vaccination.

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