Despite declines in the number of Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases being identified in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in recent weeks, experts have warned that the outbreak is still a public health emergency of international concern.
Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) convened a meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee for EVD in the DRC to review the current outbreak.
As of 13 October, a total of 3,228 cases had been reported, including 2,123 deaths. In recent weeks, the incidence of EVD cases has consistently declined, with 15 new confirmed cases reported in North Kivu and Ituri provinces during the week of 7-13 October, down from 128 weekly cases at the peak of the outbreak last April. However, hot spots have shifted from urban settings to more rural, hard-to-reach communities.
The Committee voiced concerns that a year into the outbreak, access and security situations on the ground “could hinder final efforts to eliminate the virus from rural communities.”
It issued a number of temporary recommendations for countries that are affected and not affected by the outbreak. Amongst the recommendations is that at-risk states improve preparedness for detecting and managing imported or locally acquired EVD cases.