Congo’s Ebola Outbreak To Worsen Without Stepped-up Response -WHO Committee

A map of the Democratic Republic of the Congo shows the areas most affected by an Ebola outbreak that started in August

Uganda has had five Ebola outbreaks since 2000.

Aid organisations have expressed alarm as the rate of new cases has more than doubled this month and community resistance to Ebola containment efforts in some cases has turned violent. Steffen explained that PHEICs must meet three criteria: they must be extraordinary, pose a risk of worldwide border spread, and require an global response.

Following an International Health Regulations Emergency Committee meeting, the WHO concluded that the outbreak is of high regional importance, but is not now a global threat - and due to strong government leadership and a robust international response team already in place, there was no "added value" to declaring a PHEIC, they said.

He also emphasized that the WHO will keep in place 250 health workers now in-country fighting the disease.

Public health emergencies were declared for the H1 N1 swine flu outbreak in 2009, the polio that re-emerged with the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the Zika fever outbreak in 2016.


Some of the measures Uganda has implemented to control any transmission and spread of the diseases into Uganda are; Screening of all people crossing from DRC into Uganda for signs and symptoms of Ebola, communities have been sensitized about Ebola and are vigilant and reporting any suspicious Ebola case. World Health Organization has previously made such pronouncements for epidemics including Zika in the Americas in 2016, Ebola in West Africa in 2014 and the swine flu pandemic in 2009.

The agency identified 39 new confirmed cases that were reported between October 1 and 11, including 32 from Beni. It said these preparedness activities were expensive and would require substantial financial support from the worldwide community.

The four drugs used during the outbreak are ZMapp, developed by San Diego-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc.; remdesivir, developed by Gilead Sciences Inc.in collaboration with the United States government; REGN3470-3471-3479, developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals; and favipiravir, developed by Toyama Chemical of Japan.

Steffan said the committee agreed that declaring an global emergency at this time would hinder efforts to contain the Ebola virus.

The WHO also decided not to declare a PHEIC over the last Ebola outbreak, which ultimately killed 33 people in the DRC's Équateur province earlier this year, due to the quick response and deployment of an experimental vaccine.

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