A World Health Organization (WHO) panel of experts has concluded that the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) does not constitute a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
The International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee for Ebola virus disease in the DRC met on Friday (14 June) where it discussed the current outbreak, the recent reporting of cases in Uganda and the potential impact of a PHEIC declaration, which would require a co-ordinated international response.
The committee acknowledged that recent cases in Uganda constitute international spread of the disease. However, it concluded that while the outbreak is an extraordinary event with risk of international spread, the ongoing response would not be enhanced by declaring a PHEIC and introducing formal temporary recommendations such as trade and travel restrictions.
Since last August, there have been 2,148 cases of Ebola and 1,440 deaths in the DRC (as of 15 June 2019). While there has been an overall decline in case incidence in the last five weeks, the WHO says substantial rates of transmission continue, especially in a few hotspots. Last week, the first Ebola cases were confirmed in Uganda.