WHO: DRC Ebola outbreak not a global emergency

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The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday decided the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is not a global emergency.

Despite the number of cases rapidly growing and fears the outbreak could spread into neighbouring countries, WHO again decided not to announce a global health emergency. The decision has prompted criticism from some health experts after cases were recently identified at an airport in the DRC.

WHO says no global emergency in DRC

At least 740 people have died from Ebola in the DRC since the outbreak was first detected in August last year. More than 1,100 cases have been confirmed, making this the second-largest Ebola outbreak in recorded history – only the 2014-2016 epidemic in West Africa was larger.

The number of cases is rapidly increasing in the DRC, too. As many as 74 weekly cases have been reported this month.

Numerous health experts warn the risk of the disease spreading to other countries after cases were reported near to borders with neighbouring countries and even an airport in the Central African nation.

Regardless, WHO has decided not to announce a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). The organisation rarely declares a PHEIC but it would raise the alarm internationally and open up greater options in terms of funding and resources to tackle the outbreak and prevent it from spreading to other nations.

Featured image: Von WHO – Open Clip Arthttp://www.who.int/about/licensing/emblem/en/, Gemeinfrei, 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.