United Nations issues DR Congo Ebola warning

Grant Boone
October 18, 2018

The high case count has created worldwide concern spurring Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), to assemble an emergency meeting to decide if this outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of global concern (PHEIC) (see tweet). The Committee will meet on 17 October in Geneva to ascertain whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of worldwide concern, and what recommendations should be made to manage the outbreak.

The Ebola outbreak in the North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) now stands as the fourth largest outbreak of Ebola in the country's history.

Congo's health ministry said on Monday that in the past week alone 33 people were confirmed with Ebola virus and 24 of them died.

WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, said the agency had assessed the national and regional risk of the current Ebola outbreak in DRC as "very high".

The WHO's emergency committee will also decide what recommendations should be made to contain the virus' spread. The health ministry said 73 patients had received new experimental treatments.

Nevertheless, by the information now available, World Health Organization is still advising against any travel or trade restrictions with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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However, based on the worsening security situation in and around the city of Beni, WHO elevated the risk from "high" to "very high" on September 28.

According to the ministry, the cases were discovered between October 8 and October 14.

Because of the increase in violent events, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has relocated CDC health workers that were volunteering in violent areas, effectively pulling the workers from areas with the most need.

"All these tested negative of any Ebola strains, Marburg or Sosuga virus", the statement said.

It added that it was also increasing the risk of the outbreak spreading within DRC, and to neighbouring countries, especially Rwanda and Uganda.

This was in the Beni and Mabalako health zones, the two epicentres of the Ebola outbreak.

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