World Health Organization announces Ebola outbreak in DRC still int’l emergency

Laverne Higgins
February 15, 2020

The ongoing Ebola outbreak in the DRC remains a public health emergency of global concern (PHEIC), according to the worldwide Health Regulations Emergency Committee, convened by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 12 February.

The WHO declared the DRC's Ebola outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in mid-July. However, DR Congo also fights against another virus, Ebola.

The recent outbreak was first identified in August 2018 and has since killed more than 2,300 people in the east of the DRC, an area where several militia groups operate.

"At-risk countries should maintain their work with partners to improve their preparedness for detecting and managing imported or locally acquired cases, including the transparent sharing of detailed information on suspect cases", said the experts, citing World Health Organization norms and guidance. The current transmission trend is encouraging overall according to WHO, with very few new cases and only two health zones affected in the past 21 days, including Beni.

According to the chief, the World Health Organization assesses the risk of Ebola spread as standing at "high" nationally and regionally and "low" globally.

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The WHO emergency committee of experts is meeting in Geneva today to decide if the EBOLA outbreak in the DRC is still a global emergency.

But for the epidemic to be declared, there should be no new cases reported for 42 days, double the incubation period.

The health emergency designation past year came a few days after a patient was diagnosed with the virus in the provincial capital Goma - the first case in a major urban hub.

The Ebola virus is passed on by contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected or recently deceased person.

The ADF, blamed for the deaths of more than 1,000 civilians in Beni since October 2014, began as an Islamist-rooted rebel group in Uganda that opposed President Yoweri Museveni.

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