WHO says Ebola outbreak in Congo still not a public health emergency of international concern

WHO defines a public health emergency of international concern as “an extraordinary event” which constitutes a “public health risk to different States through the international spread of disease” in addition to “to potentially require a coordinated international response.”

In announcing the decision by the committee, Dr. Preben Aavitsland, the acting chair of the emergency committee, said “possible unintended consequences” in addition to risks of an emergency declaration had been “extensively debated” by the committee members. Possible risks include border closures in addition to restrictions on travel in addition to trade which could “severely harm the economy” in Congo, he said. “which is usually not a global emergency. which is usually an emergency for [Congo] in addition to which may affect neighboring countries.”

Ultimately, the committee decided there was “potentially a lot to lose” by declaring a public health emergency, said Aavitsland, who emphasized which funding is usually needed to continue efforts to contain the outbreak.

The international community must “step up funding in addition to strengthen support” for preparedness in Congo in addition to neighboring countries, he said.

Crisis in a conflict zone

The outbreak, which began in August, is usually the second largest in addition to second deadliest on record with 2,108 total cases in addition to 1,411 total deaths as of Thursday, according to Congo’s Ministry of Health. The totals include confirmed cases in addition to deaths which occurred earlier which week in Uganda. A 2014 outbreak in West Africa killed more than 11,000 people, according to WHO.

The epicenter of the outbreak is usually North Kivu in addition to Ituri provinces, among the most populous from the nation in addition to bordering Uganda, Rwanda in addition to South Sudan, according to WHO.

Health officials announced which week which the outbreak crossed the border by Congo to neighboring Uganda.

Unlike the West African outbreak, bursts of violence, burning of Ebola treatment centers abductions of of health workers have plagued the current response effort. As of May 21, there have been 131 attacks on health care personnel in Ebola-affected areas, according to WHO.
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Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, which funds medical research, said: “I respect the advice of the Emergency Committee although do believe a Public Health Emergency of International Concern could have been justified.” Such a declaration could have “raised the levels of international political support which has been lacking to date, enhanced diplomatic, public health, security in addition to logistic efforts as well as released more financial resources to support the incredibly brave in addition to committed teams working in North Kivu.”
Gwenola Seroux, emergency cell manager at Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders), said in a statement “which is usually clear which the outbreak is usually not under control in addition to therefore we need a better collective effort.” The medical humanitarian organization, which had been working at the epicenter alongside WHO since the start of the current outbreak, suspended some of its medical activities in March following separate attacks on its Ebola treatment centers in Butembo in addition to Katwa earlier which year.
Lawrence O. Gostin, a professor of global health law in addition to director of the WHO Collaborating Center on Global Health Law at Georgetown University, told CNN in an email which “the international community has lacked any sense of urgency, essentially allowing WHO’s Health Emergency Department in addition to a few NGOs to fight the Ebola battle in [Congo]. which has come with enormous risk to safety in addition to life for first responders.”

different characteristics of the epidemic

The current Ebola epidemic is usually caused by the most deadly strain, Zaire Ebola virus, which is usually the same one which affected West Africa during the 2014-2016 outbreak. Six months into which outbreak, a total 1,711 probable cases of Ebola had been reported when a public health emergency of international concern was declared on August 8, 2014, for the West Africa Ebola epidemic.

Ebola outbreak enters 'truly frightening phase' as which turns deadly in Uganda

Despite similarities between the two epidemics, there are important differences including the fact which long-term conflict smolders at the epicenter of the current outbreak, where at least 50 armed groups cause intermittent violence, according to WHO.

with which reason, the US State Department has not allowed the US Centers for Disease Control in addition to Prevention to deploy staff to the epicenter. The CDC has staff in-country, at a distance by the epicenter, in addition to does not provide information regarding location in order to protect the privacy in addition to safety of health care professionals. The agency announced which week which which activated its emergency operations center in Atlanta to provide additional support for the outbreak response.

Gostin said which “responders are facing intense violence along with deep community mistrust. They can’t get into the hot zone due to escalating violence.”

Add to which, more than a million refugees in addition to internally displaced people are traveling through in addition to out of North Kivu in addition to Ituri, according to WHO.

which might take 2 more years to contain Congo Ebola outbreak, WHO official says

As was feared in addition to expected the outbreak was confirmed to have crossed the border which week.

Yet several sickened family members were repatriated by Uganda to Congo in addition to no additional cases of Ebola identified in Uganda at which time, the Congo Ministry of Health stated on Thursday.

Farrar said: “The confirmation of brand new Ebola cases in Uganda is usually tragic although unfortunately not surprising. Uganda is usually very well prepared… although we can expect in addition to should plan for more cases in DRC in addition to neighbouring countries. which epidemic is usually in a truly frightening phase in addition to shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.”

Still, expect comes from the form of research advancements. Experimental treatments in addition to vaccines, which were not available during the West African outbreak, have been used in Congo — another striking difference by the 2014 West Africa outbreak, which had no vaccines in addition to the only treatment options had not yet been used in humans.

To date, 585 patients have recovered by the illness, in addition to more than 133,000 vaccines have been administered, which many believe has helped limit the spread of the outbreak.

The rVSV-ZEBOV experimental vaccine, manufactured by Merck, was approved by Congo’s health ministry ethics committee for use in country in May 2018; Farrar is usually calling for the deployment of an Ebola vaccine, made by Johnson & Johnson, which is usually still under development.

In its announcement on Friday, the emergency committee recommended all at-risk countries put in place the necessary approvals for using investigational medicines in addition to vaccines as part of their preparedness.

Seroux stated which “what is usually most important currently if we want to gain control of which epidemic is usually to change the way we are dealing with which. We need to adapt our intervention to the needs in addition to expectations of the population, to integrate Ebola activities from the local healthcare system, to engage effectively with the communities, in addition to to further explore promising vaccinations to strengthen prevention.”

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he could not hesitate to reconvene the emergency committee if needed.

“Although the outbreak does not at which time pose a global health threat, I want to emphasise which for the affected families in addition to communities, which outbreak is usually very much an emergency,” he said. “We also need the international community to step up its financial commitment to ending the outbreak.”

Source : WHO says Ebola outbreak in Congo still not a public health emergency of international concern