Ebola case count reaches 60 as DRC neighbors take precautions

The strategic plan details WHO’s support in the following categories:

· Strengthening of the multisectoral coordination

· Surveillance for early detection (including points of entry)

· Laboratory diagnostic capacity

· Risk communication, social mobilization, and community engagement

· Case management and infection prevention and control capacities

· Operations support and logistics

The estimated budget is $15.5 million US. The plan is meant to be put in place in the coming weeks and continue through February of 2019.

Chinese contingent arriving

CIDRAP says that in an update today, DRC’s health ministry said a Chinese team of experts will arrive in Kinshasa to assist local authorities. “Like other international experts who come to support the Congolese experts, they will participate in the various commissions set up to manage the response,” according to a Google translated version.

The update did not specify that the Chinese delegation will assist with vaccination campaigns. China has developed an experimental Ebola vaccine.

“It is also worth mentioning,” the DRC health ministry said, “that under Congolese legislation, any use of experimental vaccines must be authorized by the Scientific Committee and the Ethics Committee. To date, only the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine [made in Canada] has been authorized by these committees as part of the current Ebola outbreak.

The DRC update lists 62 total cases. It includes 38 confirmed and 10 suspected cases, 1 more in each category than the WHO lists.

Former CDC head warns of Ebola unpreparedness
Elsewhere, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Thomas Frieden wrote an editorial published today in Science about the current Ebola outbreak, citing JEEs as a key component in Ebola response.

While he said early detection by DRC officials means this outbreak likely won’t spread like the West African outbreak of 2014, the Ebola vaccine is only a tool—not a disease game-changer.

To truly arm the world against Ebola, Friedman says three things need to change: community engagement at outbreak sites, the effectiveness of the WHO, and the support of countries with completed JEEs.

“By the end of 2018, approximately 100 countries will have undergone the rigorous JEE pro- cess. Thousands of technical experts—the vast majority coming from within these countries themselves—and billions of dollars are urgently needed to close the thousands of life-threatening gaps identified, and resources that have been committed need to be rapidly and effectively deployed,” Frieden said.