GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) – An outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that has killed more than 700 people and is continuing to spread does not constitute an international emergency, the World Health Organization said on Friday.
Declaring the epidemic a “public health emergency of international concern” would have signaled that greater resources and international coordination are needed.
WHO - Emergency - Committee - Data - Disease
The WHO’s independent Emergency Committee, which analyzed the latest data, said the disease was entrenched in several epicenters in the northeast and was being transmitted in health care settings.
It had not spread across borders to Uganda, Rwanda or South Sudan, but neighboring countries should shore up their preparedness, the experts said.
Vote - PHEIC - Health - Emergency - Concern
“It was an almost unanimous vote that this would not constitute a PHEIC (public health emergency of international concern) because we are moderately optimistic that this outbreak can be brought into control – not immediately, but still within a foreseeable time,” panel chairman Professor Robert Steffen told a news conference.
Dozens of new cases reported this week have been mainly in the epicenters of Butembe, Katwe and Vuhovi, said Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s health emergencies program.
Amplification - Disease - Area - Ryan
“It’s quite a focused amplification of disease in a very specific geographic area,” Ryan said.
“But the disease there has risen because of lack of access to that community, we’ve fallen behind in starting vaccination rings,” he said, referring to attacks on health centers...
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