U.S. Delegation Wraps Up Visit To African Nations, Ebola Outbreak Zones; Former DRC Health Minister Arrested Over Alleged Misuse Of Funds

CIDRAP News: U.S. officials end visit to DRC Ebola region; cases rise to 3,129
“Over the weekend and through today the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Ebola total grew by 19 cases, as U.S. government officials who recently visited the outbreak area voiced their support for not only the outbreak response but also for the country’s overall health system. Over the weekend, a U.S. government delegation, including Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield, MD, and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci, MD, toured an Ebola treatment center in Butembo. The officials were accompanied by World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus, PhD, and United Nations (U.N.) Emergency Ebola Response Coordinator David Gressly…” (Schnirring, 9/16).

New York Times: As Congo’s Ebola Outbreak Drags On, Untracked Cases Sow Confusion
“The United States remains committed to fighting Ebola in Africa, American health officials said on Monday, but the scope of the current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has become somewhat unclear. There were rumors that Ebola had reached Tanzania, the officials noted. And the arrest of Congo’s former health minister, who until recently led his country’s response to the outbreak, has raised doubts about how effective that effort ever was. … Of about 3,100 Congolese with confirmed infections, almost 2,100 have died. ‘It’s a genuine health emergency with significant challenges,’ Mr. Azar said. … Some American government personnel are now working in front-line areas in eastern Congo, Mr. Azar said Monday, but he did not say more precisely where…” (McNeil, 9/16).

Science: Congo arrests former health minister for alleged misuse of Ebola funds
“Police in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have arrested the former health minister, Oly Ilunga Kalenga, for allegedly mismanaging $4.3 million in Ebola response money. The 14 September arrest came on the same day that an unprecedented high-level delegation of U.S. government health officials met with the DRC’s president and other leaders in Kinshasa to discuss the 13-month-old Ebola outbreak, which is the second largest in history. There’s no obvious link between the two events, but worries have steadily increased over the past few weeks that shortfalls in funding could hamper the country’s efforts to end the outbreak, which has killed two-thirds of the 3,100 people who have developed the disease…” (Cohen, 9/16).

Additional coverage of the U.S. delegation’s visit and the DRC Ebola outbreak response is available from the Associated Press, CNN, The Guardian, and VOA.