WHO Chief: Ebola Outbreak in DRC Remains Public Health Emergency

WHO Chief: Ebola Outbreak in DRC Remains Public Health Emergency

During an Emergency Committee meeting, the members unanimously advised that the outbreak in DR Congo continues to be a public health emergency of worldwide concern (PHEIC) under the global Health Regulations (2005).

"As long as there is only one case of Ebola in an area as insecure and unstable as the east of the DRC, the potential remains a much larger epidemic", WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Wednesday. However, DR Congo also fights against another virus, Ebola.

The WHO, however, said it was downgrading the national and regional risk of the disease from very high to high, while it kept the global risk at low.

"The signs are extremely positive in the eastern DRC, and I hope that by the time the Emergency Committee reconvenes, we will be able to declare an end to the outbreak", top official said.

Rebels have repeatedly attacked health workers struggling to contain the outbreak and people in communities who've never experienced the illness before remain wary of worldwide aid workers.

Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus says there hasn't been a case in the past three day and only three reported cases this past week. Last week, it reported only three new cases of the disease in North Kivu's Beni Health Zone.

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 WHO's Emergency Committee unanimously agreed to continue the designation known as a PHEIC for the African country, which gives the organization more power to limit the spread of the unsafe infection.

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

To date, Ebola has killed more than 2,200 people in Congo, making it the second-deadliest epidemic in history.



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