2002 - Acute respiratory syndrome in Democratic Republic of the Congo - Update
12 December 2002
Disease Outbreak Reported
As of 11 December the outbreak has affected Bosobolo, Gbadolite, Gemena, and Karawa areas (see previous report).
Because of persisting communications problems with health personnel in the field, comprehensive surveillance data for the affected areas has been difficult to obtain. However, WHO reported the preliminary results of a retrospective survey conducted by Epicentre and Médecins sans Frontières (MSF-France) in Bosobolo covering approximately 300 households. A total of 1 245 cases including 18 deaths (case-fatality rate 1.4%) was recorded. The attack rate was 47%.
The outbreak in the surveyed area peaked by early November . All age groups have been affected with the highest case fatality rate over 3% observed in children under 5 years of age and the elderly. Preliminary results of blood samples tested at Institut Pasteur (Paris) indicate recent infection compatible with the current circulating influenza virus (H3N2). Further testing to characterize the virus is necessary.
WHO, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF- Belgium ), MEMISA, and FOMETRO are supporting the Ministry of Health in laboratory diagnosis and provision of supplies.