the weekly health point in Africa

(Ecofin Agency) – This week in Africa: Equatorial Guinea confirms its first outbreak of Marburg disease, a hemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola; the WHO reports an “exponential” rise in cholera cases on the continent, while Uganda has launched a post-Ebola health recovery plan…

Equatorial Guinea: a mysterious hemorrhagic fever identified

In central Africa, the mysterious haemorrhagic fever, which kept authorities on alert last week in the border area between Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon, has been identified. This is Marburg disease, the other cousin of Ebola. Indeed, Equatorial Guinea confirmed its first outbreak of the Marburg virus disease on Monday, February 13, as did the World Health Organization (WHO). Preliminary tests were positive for viral haemorrhagic fever following at least nine people died in the eastern province of Kie Ntem.

The samples were sent to the reference laboratory of the Pasteur Institute in Dakar (in Senegal), with the support of WHO, to determine the cause of the disease following an alert issued by a district health official on 7 FEBRUARY. In the followingmath, advance teams were deployed to the affected districts to trace contacts, isolate and provide medical care to those with symptoms. Health authorities also announce that efforts are being made to quickly mount an emergency response, with the WHO deploying experts on the ground. One of the challenges is to ensure the collaboration of local communities in controlling the epidemic.

As a reminder, Marburg virus disease is a highly virulent pathology that causes hemorrhagic fever, with a mortality rate of up to 88%. There are no approved vaccines or antiviral treatments to treat the virus. However, supportive care improves the chances of survival.

Cameroon and Gabon on alert

For its part, neighboring Cameroon remains on high alert, although no cases have yet been detected. Malachie Manaouda, Minister of Health in the country of Paul Biya, confirmed that no death or case of Marburg hemorrhagic fever has been reported so far.

Health teams had been on high alert since February 9, working to strengthen the surveillance and response system in the event of the disease spreading. This is also the case in Gabon, another neighboring country, which has put itself on red alert.

The three countries (Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Gabon) are preparing to launch a joint response to the epidemic, as reported the StopBlablaCam media. If Guinea is facing the epidemic risk directly, Cameroon in particular is strengthening its surveillance and epidemiological response system to avoid the importation of cases on its soil. For now, we learn, prevention is the priority, because there is no vaccine or safe treatment.

“Exponential” rise in cholera in Africa (WHO)

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Africa is currently affected by an “exponential” increase in the number of cholera cases. As of January 29, it is estimated that more than 26,000 cases and 660 deaths have already been reported in 10 countries. I’WHO warned last week that if the current trend continues, cases might exceed the number recorded in 2021 – the “worst year” for cholera in Africa for nearly a decade.

Figures released by the WHO indicate that in January 2023, the number of reported cases on the continent has already reached more than 30% of the total number of cases recorded in the whole of 2022. In that year, around 80,000 cases and 1,863 deaths had been recorded in 15 cholera-affected countries.

Malawi is the country most affected by the disease with a crisis situation that is reaching alarming proportions. Other countries, such as Mozambique, Zambia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria, have also reported cases.

Uganda launches post-Ebola health recovery plan

Uganda, which recently had to deal with an epidemic of another filovirus (a family that includes Ebola and Marburg), now wants to learn from this experience. With the support of several partners, the Ugandan Ministry of Health this week launched a six-month post-Ebola recovery plan, aimed at filling the gaps identified during the fight once morest the epidemic. As a reminder, nine districts were affected by the Ebola epidemic (which was declared closed on January 11), with a total of 142 confirmed cases and 55 deaths.

Related Articles:  Police Intervention and Arrests in Altercation Near Saint-Remacle Church in Verviers: Latest Updates

One of the priorities identified is to improve surveillance capacity for rapid case detection. Other pillars of this plan include case management, strengthening laboratory systems and establishing a multidisciplinary team ready to respond in the event of an emergency. A total budget of regarding 120 billion shillings (regarding 20 billion FCFA) is allocated to the initiative, part of which is intended for the establishment of mobile laboratories in the field.

South Africa: more than 500 cases of measles in 5 months

In South Africa, the measles outbreak continues in some provinces. 506 confirmed measles cases have been reported in the country since the first week of October 2022. Among them, 484 cases have been identified in the provinces affected by the epidemic. The majority of cases (40%) are in the 5-9 year age group, and only 19% of cases had been vaccinated. In the southern African country, health authorities recommend that parents check their children’s vaccination status and offer free measles vaccination to any unvaccinated child over the age of six months.

DRC: Cholera in North Kivu

A cholera epidemic was officially declared by the governor of North Kivu province last December. Of the Vibrio cholerae (bacteria responsible for cholera) were isolated in 140 of the 247 samples taken from suspected cases in the Nyiragongo health zone. As of February 4, 2023, a total of 4386 cases of acute enteric infection (including 1009 laboratory confirmed) with 16 deaths (CFR 0.4%) have been reported. In all, 4011 cases (91.5%) come from Nyiragongo and 375 (8.5%) from Karisimbi. A total of 15 health zones, including seven in the HZ of Nyiragongo (Kanyaruchinya, Kibati, Kiziba, Mudja, Munigi, Ngangi III and Turunga) and eight in the HZ of Karisimbi (Baraka, Bujovu, Kasika, Katoyi, Majengo, Methodiste Mugunga and Muugano Solidarite), are currently affected by the cholera epidemic.

It should be noted that the epidemic mainly affects displaced populations, with 97% of cases reported among displaced people in the HZ of Nyiragongo, and 59% of cases reported among displaced people in the Methodist health zone of Karisimbi, which hosts the camp for displaced people. Don Bosco, as WHO points out.

However, the epidemic is also spreading in the surrounding communities, with almost 3% of cases in the HZ of Nyiragongo and 41% of the cases in the HZ of Karisimbi belonging to the host community.

Nigeria: Lassa fever killed 50 people in January

In Africa’s most populous country, more than 50 deaths from Lassa fever were recorded in January 2023, according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC). Thus, until January 29, 1378 suspected cases and 361 confirmed cases of Lassa fever have been reported in 18 states of the country. This represents a notable 71% increase in confirmed cases compared to the same period in 2022 (211). Nearly 15% of confirmed cases died in January, a case fatality rate of 15%. According to the same sources, the most affected are those of Ondo, Edo and Taraba, representing 74% of confirmed cases. In the followingmath, the NCDC activated a National Lassa Fever Multi-Sectoral Emergency Operations Center (LF-EOC), to coordinate and strengthen the ongoing response in the country.

As a reminder, Lassa fever is an acute viral disease that is transmitted to humans through infected rats. In humans, it can cause severe fever, muscle aches, nausea, and vomiting, as well as bleeding in the eyes, nose, or mouth. The disease can also lead to kidney failure, paralysis, or even death.

Ayi Renaud Dossavi

Read also

DRC wants to eradicate sleeping sickness by 2030: the weekly health update in Africa

Anti-malaria vaccine, hopes of eradicating Guinea worm, case of diphtheria in Nigeria: the health point in Africa

10 million anti-covid-19 vaccinated in the DRC, Gavi wants to mobilize $500 million: the weekly health update in Africa

Ebola defeated in Uganda, end of “street glasses” in Cameroon: the weekly health update in Africa

Morocco, first country to ban arrivals from China: the weekly health update in Africa

Yellow fever, measles: vaccination coverage is still insufficient (weekly health update in Africa)

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.