DRC Ebola outbreak global health emergency, WHO announces

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a global health emergency.

The move comes after the first case of the disease was confirmed in the busy town of Goma in the eastern DRC, along the border with Rwanda. Despite fears the disease could spread into neighbouring countries and three confirmed cases in Uganda, WHO has resisted calls to declare a global health emergency until now.

WHO declares global health emergency

The ongoing Ebola crisis in the DRC is the second-largest outbreak in recorded history, having killed more than 1,600 people since cases were first discovered in August last year. A quick response from health authorities and a newly-developed Ebola vaccine initially prevented the disease from spreading to major cities in the DRC and crossing any of its nine shared borders with other countries.

However, sporadic violence in parts of the country and mistrust of health officials have hampered efforts to fully contain the disease. The confirmation of a case in the city of Goma has increased fears the disease could spread into Rwanda if it isn’t quickly contained.

The World Health Organization has responded by declaring the outbreak a global health emergency after resisting calls to do so for many months. However, WHO stopped short of saying borders should be closed, insisting the risk of the disease spreading outside of the region remains low.

Featured image: By WHO – Open Clip Arthttp://www.who.int/about/licensing/emblem/en/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=437462

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.