The Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo has now claimed 468 lives, with the number of cases reported Friday by the country’s Ministry of Health rising to 759.
The new total includes 705 confirmed cases and 54 probable. Another 178 suspected cases are under investigation in what is now the second-largest Ebola outbreak in global history, after the 2014 West African outbreak.
There are confirmed cases in 18 communities in the eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, near the borders with South Sudan and Uganda. They include what are now 174 confirmed cases, 99 of them fatal, in Katwa, with more than two dozen more under investigation. Katwa remains a hotspot with the most fatalities behind Beni, which has stabilized at 137 confirmed deaths and nine more suspected.
Newer cases in Kayina, Masareka and Musienene show a continued pattern of Ebola infections mapping toward the south. The city of Goma near the Rwandan border remains under surveillance with six suspected cases but none confirmed.
Health officials ramped up preparation efforts ahead of any Ebola cases there because it is a travel and trade hub that opens the door to a more worrisome regional and international spread.
More than 70,000 people have received the approved rVSV-ZEBOV experimental vaccine, more than 20,300 of them in Beni and 16,600 in Katwa.
There are now 65 health workers who have contracted the virus, including eight new cases in Katwa, according to Thursday’s update from the World Health Organization. At least 20 health workers have died.
Image: WHO file