Thursday, 01 October, 2020

WHO Chief: Ebola Outbreak in DRC Remains Public Health Emergency

WHO encouraged by fight against DRC EBOLA outbreak WHO to decide on emergency status of Ebola in DR Congo
Gustavo Carr | 15 February, 2020, 09:56

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus plans to meet with President Felix Tshisekedi and his senior advisers to discuss management of Ebola, which remains a public health emergency of worldwide concern (PHEIC) following the decision to extend that status during Wednesday's meeting in Geneva.

The World Health Organisation last July declared it a "public health emergency of global concern" - a designation that gives the WHO greater powers to restrict travel and boost funding.

"As I said yesterday, as long as there is a single case of Ebola in an area as insecure and unstable as the eastern DRC, the potential remains for a much larger epidemic", Ghebreyesus said.

Tedros said Tuesday that only three cases had been reported last week in the DRC.

Since the outbreak was declared on August 1, 2018, it has grown to become the second-largest Ebola outbreak on record with a death toll of 2,253 and 3,308 confirmed cases, according to World Health Organization data.

"Although the world is now focused on coronavirus, we can not and must not forget Ebola", Tedros said, adding that he would travel to DR Congo on Thursday to meet President Felix Tshisekedi.

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Ghebreyesus said the WHO's assessment of the situation is that the risk of Ebola spreading within the DRC and regionally was high but globally was low and that he was hopeful the outbreak may soon come to an end. Last week, it reported only three new cases of the disease in North Kivu's Beni Health Zone.

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.

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

Efforts to contain the current outbreak have been hindered by attacks on health workers and conflicts in the east.

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