WHO opts not to declare latest Ebola outbreak an international emergency

It’s nevertheless warning nine of the Congo’s eleven neighbours that they are at high risk of the deadly haemorrhagic disease spreading across the borders.

FILE: A health worker prepares a vaccination at a health center in Conakry during the first clinical trials of the VSV-EBOV vaccine against the Ebola virus. Picture: AFP

PRETORIA – The World Health Organisation (WHO) Emergency Committee has decided that a public health emergency of international concern should not be declared regarding the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It’s nevertheless warning nine of the Congo’s eleven neighbours that they are at high risk of the deadly haemorrhagic disease spreading across the borders.

A map of the Democratic Republic of the Congo shows the areas most affected by an Ebola outbreak that started in August. Picture: AFP

The four-hour teleconference expressed deep concern about the Ebola outbreak that’s killed 139 people in the DRC.

It says response activities need to be intensified with support by the international community.

Ongoing vigilance is critical, says the WHO, noting the security of first responders and health workers is a priority.

There have been eight major security events in the Ebola epicentre town of Beni in the past eight weeks, driving medical experts to work on the disease from Kinshasa more than 1,600km away.