WHO To Meet On Congo's Ebola Outbreak As Toll Soars

Video File Congolese health officials prepare to disinfect people and buildings at the general referral hospital in Mbandaka

The World Health Organization (WHO) will on Wednesday convene an emergency committee to decide whether the Democratic Republic of Congo's Ebola outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of worldwide concern, the global health body said on Monday.

Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has called for an Emergency Committee meeting on the Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which has already claimed about 130 lives.

As of October 14, 2018, there have been a total of 214 cases of Ebola in the region (179 laboratory-confirmed cases and 35 probable cases) and 104 confirmed deaths. The aid organisation is also tracing contacts of confirmed cases to make sure they access treatment centres if they have contracted the virus. The WHO has not imposed any trade or travel restrictions in the Congo.

The organization on September 28 elevated the national and regional risk of the outbreak from "high" to "very high", although the global outbreak risk is still low.

The DRC Ministry of Health, WHO and other partners have been responding to the outbreak with teams on the ground.

Of those confirmed to have contracted the virus since 8 October, 24 have died.

Quote Message: "In recent weeks armed attacks in and around Beni in North Kivu have severely affected both civilian and front-line workers, forcing the temporary suspension of the response and raising the risk that the virus will continue to spread".

The agency reported that it has continued to work with all nine neighbouring countries to increase their preparedness. Neighbouring Uganda has stepped up border controls in response to the outbreak, yet people in the region are wary of authority after years of war, which makes disease control measures hard.

World Health Organization stated that it had amended "its risk assessment of the Ebola epidemic in the DRC due to potential risk factors for Ebola transmission at the national and regional levels, including transport links and population movements".

Meanwhile, the UN Children's Fund reported that one month after the beginning of the school year, 80 per cent of school-aged children have returned to school.

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