Suspected triple outbreak of typhoid fever, shigellosis and cholera – Congo

21 September 2023

Situation at a glance

The Ministry of Health and Population (Ministère de la Santé et de la Population – MSP) of the Republic of the Congo, declared on 17 July 2023 a suspected triple outbreak of gastroenteritis, with typhoid fever, shigellosis, and cholera as probable causes.

Since the first case was reported on 28 June 2023, and as of 29 August 2023, a total of 2389 suspected cases have been reported, including 52 deaths (overall Case Fatality Rate (CFR) 2.2%).

Laboratory analyses performed by the National Public Health Laboratory, identified 83 cases of Shigella, 22 of Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi) and 21 cases of Vibrio cholerae with toxigenicity testing of the strain not performed.

The city of Dolisie, the capital of Niari Department in the western part of the country is the epicentre of this outbreak.

With WHO support, the MSP has activated a multisectoral coordination mechanism, strengthening surveillance, laboratory and clinical care capacities, and implementing decontamination and risk communication activities. An in-depth epidemiological investigation is also being led by the MSP.

WHO assesses the risk posed by this triple outbreak as high at the national level, moderate at the regional level and low at the global level.

Description of the situation

On 14 July 2023, the Ministry of Health and Population of the Republic of the Congo reported 1384 cases whose dominant symptomatology was fever (39°C and 40°C), headaches, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, and fatigue.

On 17 July 2023, the MSP officially declared a suspected triple outbreak of gastroenteritis, with typhoid fever, shigellosis, and cholera as probable causes.

The first case of the outbreak was reported on 28 June 2023. Since then, and as of 29 August 2023, a total of 2389 suspected cases have been reported, including 52 deaths (overall CFR 2.2%). Suspected typhoid fever cases accounted for 50.2% (n=1200) of all cases, followed by shigellosis (46.9%; n=1120) and cholera (2.9%; n=69).

Eighty-eight (3.7%) of the suspected cases have undergone emergency surgery due to an intestinal perforation, a complication known to occur in untreated typhoid fever.

The city of Dolisie – the capital of Niari Department with a population of more than 110 000 inhabitants – is the current epicentre of this outbreak, with 2178 suspected cases (91.2% of all cases) and 33 deaths (CFR 1.5%) reported for all three infectious diseases combined.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top