"Ebola Virus Particles" by Thomas W. Geisbert, Boston University School of Medicine / CC BY 2.5

World Health Organization decides against declaring Ebola emergency as outbreak worsens

Apr 15, 2019

By Amy Maxmen

Despite a spike in Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) over the past few weeks, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that the outbreak there is not a public health emergency of international concern. The WHO decided against declaring the emergency on 12 April because the outbreak is limited to two provinces in the country’s northeast.

The area is a conflict zone that’s home to more than 20 armed groups, as well as opponents of the DRC’s ruling political party. Increased political tensions are complicating their attempts to curb the outbreak at a press conference, said Tedros Ghebreysus, director general of the WHO in Geneva, at a press conference on 12 April. He also appealed for more funding and community outreach.

“Everyone here agrees we must do everything possible to end this outbreak as soon as possible,” said Ghebreysus. And the most important task is to gain the trust of people in Butembo and Katwa, towns in northeastern DRC where some have been reluctant to report symptoms at Ebola clinics and agree to be vaccinated, he added.

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