Publicado: Lun, Abril 15, 2019
Salud | Por Gertrudes Rodriquez

Congo's Ebola outbreak might be declared global emergency

Congo's Ebola outbreak might be declared global emergency

"If [an outbreak] stays within a country then by definition it is not of global concern", Professor Robert Steffen, chair of the emergency committee, told a press conference on Friday.

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed more than 750 people, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday, ahead of a key review on the severity of the epidemic.

Newport said 75% of new Ebola cases have no obvious link to previous patients, meaning that officials have lost track of where the virus is spreading.

But he called for a redoubling of "efforts to detect cases, identify and follow up all contacts".

Up to the end of March, more than 320 patients had recovered and been discharged from treatment centres, according to the Government's health ministry.

The deadly disease is concentrated in two Congo provinces and cases are rising in remaining epicentres, notably Butembo, Katwa, Vuhovi and Mandima, the panel said in a statement.

The Committee advises World Health Organization and all partners to identify, target, and scale up community dialogue and participation, engagement of traditional healers, and other community engagement tactics to strengthen and broaden community acceptance. It could also include recommendations on travel or trade.

The safety of responders should be prioritized, while avoiding the securitization of the response.

With multiple rebel groups active in the region, wary communities sometimes resisting health workers and a heavily travelled border nearby, the risk of regional spread is deemed "very high", WHO says.

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Cross-border collaboration should continue to be strengthened, including timely sharing of data and alerts, cross-border community engagement and awareness raising.

Moreover, work should be done to better map population movements and understand the community networks which bridge national boundaries.

The Committee maintains its previous advice that it is particularly important that no global travel or trade restrictions should be applied. This will require substantial, immediate and sustained additional financial support. "We also felt that declaring a PHEIC would not aide the situation, but would quite possibly complicate it".

Members and advisors of the Emergency Committee met by teleconference. "We have made progress in recent weeks through dialogue and negotiation".

A representative of the Office of the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (MONUSCO) reported on the work of MONUSCO, including its logistics and security activities to support the response.

He called that rate unprecedented in the current eight-month outbreak.

The deadly virus was first reported on August 1 and has become the second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history, behind the 2014-2016 outbreak that left more than 11,000 people dead when it swept across three West African countries.

Rebecca Katz, a global health security expert at Georgetown University, in a statement called WHO's decision disappointing, saying the United Nations agency and its experts were "taking too narrow of an interpretation" of what constitutes an worldwide emergency.

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