Ebola outbreak WARNING: Killer virus could SPREAD sparking major ‘deterioration’ warns WHO

Friday, October 19, 2018
By Paul Martin

EBOLA could spread outside the currently infected Democratic Republic of Congo and could spiral out of control if authorities do not step up their response, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.

Fri, Oct 19, 2018

At least 139 people have died in the outbreak in Congo’s North Kivu Province, which borders Uganda and Rwanda, and the number reported cases has reached 215.

The WHO said the risk of Ebola escaping from the Democratic Republic of Congo is high adding in a statement that the outbreak would likely spiral out of control without a stepped-up response.

A WHO statement said: “The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, WHO and partners must intensify the current response.

“Without this, the situation is likely to deteriorate significantly.”

This the second Ebola outbreak this year in eastern Congo.

However the emergency committee added that the deadly outbreak, which was declared on August 1, does not yet constitute a so-called public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).

But the WHO warned the virus could spread at any time to neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda, although both countries are well prepared.

The virus, which causes haemorrhagic fever, vomiting, diarrhoea and frequently death, spreads through contact with the bodily fluids of its victims.

It finds a natural breeding ground in Congo’s dense equatorial forests where infected bats are suspected of carrying it long distances.

Around 18,000 people, including 7,000 health workers and 4,000 children, have already been vaccinated against the deadly disease.

Robert Steffen, chairman of WHO’s emergency committee, said: “We do have some optimism that this outbreak will be brought under control in a reasonable time.”

But travel and transport restrictions could hinder the fight against Ebola, he stressed, as he warned Congolese officials against imposing such restrictions.

The emergency committee based its conclusions on three criteria.

Mr Steffen said: “Whether the outbreak was extraordinary, whether there was a risk of international spread, and whether there was a requirement for an international response.”

The outbreak is very concerning for the region but not globally, he said, adding that, for now, no cases had spilled over into neighbouring countries, and that the international response was already underway.

But the WHO’s decision not to declare a PHEIC has drawn criticism from aid groups.

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