An emergency committee convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) earlier this week to discuss the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has stressed the need to intensify response activities to the outbreak.
Between 4 May and 15 October 2018, 216 EVD cases and 139 total deaths have been reported. Nine neighbouring countries have now been advised that they are at high risk of spread of the disease.
The committee discussed the current complex security situation in the DRC, which it said is posing a number of challenges and has complicated contact tracing and other aspects of the response. Approximately eight major security incidents have occurred in the Beni area in the past eight weeks.
The Committee concluded that while a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) is not necessary at this time, it remains “deeply concerned by the outbreak.” It said protection of health workers and health facilities should be prioritised. The group added that because there is a very high risk of regional spread, neighbouring countries should accelerate preparedness and surveillance, and should consider vaccination of healthcare workers in high-risk districts neighbouring DRC.