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Weekly Bulletin on Outbreaks and other Emergencies: Week 8: 13 to 19 February 2023

This Weekly Bulletin focuses on public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African region. This week’s articles cover:

Cholera in the WHO African Region

Marburg in Equatorial Guinea

Diptheria in Nigeria

Mpox in Africa

For each of these events, a brief description, followed by public health measures implemented and an interpretation of the situation is provided.

A table is provided at the end of the bulletin with information on all new and ongoing public health events currently being monitored in the region, as well as recent events that have been controlled and closed.

Major issues and challenges include:

The WHO African Region is experiencing a rise in cholera cases and geographical spread, amid a global surge. This is occurring in the context of other emergencies including the cyclones and heavy rains, competing priorities and stretched resources. To date, 11 countries have reported cholera cases or outbreaks in the region. While the outbreak is slowing down in some countries like Nigeria and Cameroon, Malawi is still reporting high numbers, albeit with a decline in cases and deaths in the past two weeks. Notably the outbreak in Mozambique is trending upwards.

The burden of cholera could get worse unless member states and implementing partners boost efforts to control and prevent outbreaks.

Health authorities in Equatorial Guinea officially declared its first ever confirmed outbreak of Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) on 13 February 2023. The declaration came following a confirmation of the disease by real-time amplification after reverse transcription (qRT-qPCR) testing of one blood sample at Pasteur Institute of Dakar in Senegal on 12 February 2023. Efforts are underway with the support from WHO and other government partners to put in place the required emergency response activities to help the country cope with this outbreak and quickly contain its public health impact.

Thirteen newly confirmed mpox cases and death were reported in Africa in the past week. The cases were reported from the Central Africa Republic and Nigeria, which previously reported mpox cases before the outbreak in 2022. Sufficient human resources and infrastructure for genomic sequencing and bioinformatics are essential to eradicate the mpox outbreak in Africa.

Source: World Health Organization

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