Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Ebola Resurges in Congo, WHO Convenes Emergency Committee

WHO to meet on Congo's Ebola outbreak as death toll soars 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
Anna Jefferson | 18 October, 2018, 21:46

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 of experts may make recommendations to manage the outbreak, which was declared on August 1 and has worsened, with a risk of the virus spreading from northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo into Uganda and Rwanda. In response to the challenges faced in this outbreak, the committee issued public health advice (see infographic).

Health officials confirmed 39 new Ebola cases from October 1-11.

The health ministry of the Democratic Republic of Congo DRC has confirmed that no less than 24 victims out of 33 persons affected have lost their lives in the recent outbreak of Ebola virus. The health ministry said 73 patients had received new experimental treatments.

"In this DRC outbreak of Ebola, there are security risks to public health responders in the field that have not been present in past outbreaks", Tom Inglesby, MD, director of the Center for Health Security of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said in an interview with Contagion®.

The DRC Ministry of Health, WHO and other partners have been responding to the outbreak with teams on the ground.

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The WHO's emergency committee will also decide what recommendations should be made to contain the virus' spread.

World Health Organization stated that it had amended "its risk assessment of the Ebola epidemic in the DRC due to potential risk factors for Ebola transmission at the national and regional levels, including transport links and population movements".

Ghebreyesus said while the global risk remained low, so far, the United Nations health watchdog has not called for any trade or travel restrictions to be imposed.

The agency identified 39 new confirmed cases were reported between 1 and 11 October, 32 of which are from Beni.

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

There are concerns the outbreak could spread to neighboring countries like Uganda and Rwanda.

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