Weekly Bulletin on Outbreaks and other Emergencies: Week 5: 23 to 29 January 2023


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

  • Cholera in Mozambique
  • Cholera in Burundi
  • COVID-19 across the WHO African region

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 cholera outbreak which was reported in Mozambique on 14 September 2022 continues with an increase in the number of districts affected. The geographic spread of the outbreak is straining response capacity, including human resources, and medical supplies. Inadequate access to safe water sources for a population already facing hygiene and sanitation challenges, the current rainy season, and a large fishing community could contribute to sustained disease transmission. In addition, Malawi, which borders Mozambique, is currently experiencing an uncontrolled national cholera outbreak with a high case fatality rate (>3%). The observed population movement from Mozambique to neighbouring countries and vice versa, poses a high risk of sub-regional transmission.

The number of COVID-19 cases reported in the first three weeks of 2023 was the lowest record in the same period comparing the past three years. However, in the three weeks, there has been an increasing number of countries with an uptick in the number of cases and deaths in the WHO African region, with South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho and Zimbabwe of particular note.

Hospitalizations and ICU admission rates have however remained low across the region. Recent surges in China and the USA have once again highlighted the possibility of a rapid deterioration of the pandemic situation as the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to evolve globally, particularly with the circulation of the highly transmissible XBB 1.5 and BQ.1.1 subvariants


Source: World Health Organization