Feb 21, 2019
The newly confirmed ebola virus patient from Beni was apparently exposed to the body fluids of an Ebola survivor, the ministry said in its statement today, adding that a thorough investigation and genetic sequencing is underway to determine the epidemiological links between the cases.
In a disappointing development today, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) health ministry reported a new Ebola case in Beni, coming just 2 days after the former outbreak epicenter had reached the hopeful mark of going a full 21-day incubation period without new illness.
Today’s announcement also noted five other new cases, including four from two current hot spots.
Of the five other new cases today, two are from Katwa, two are from Butembo, and one is from Kalunguta. Authorities are also investigating 179 suspected Ebola cases. Today’s six new cases lift the outbreak total to 859 cases, which includes 794 confirmed and 65 probable infections.
The health ministry reported five more deaths, three of which occurred in the community—two in Katwa and one in Butembo. The other two people died in Ebola treatment centers, one in Katwa and one in Butembo. So far, 536 fatalities have been reported in the DRC’s outbreak.
In other developments, the health ministry said the Ebola strategic coordination office today began its move from Beni to Goma, the capital of North Kivu province. Health minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga, MD, in late November decided to relocate the office to Goma to separate planning and supervision activities from field operations. According to the statement, the move to Goma will make it easier for the ministry’s partners to get security clearances to work on the Ebola response. It added that the move won’t disrupt daily response activities in Beni, which will still have a subcoordination center as for other main hot spots such as Butembo and Katwa.
“It is important to note that this move to Goma in no way means that the Ebola outbreak has reached the city, although it remains exposed,” the ministry said, noting that placing the coordinating office in an area not affected by the outbreak allows it to focus on supervision, monitoring, and planning.