World Health Declares Ebola Outbreak a Global Level 3 Emergency

World Health Declares Ebola Outbreak in the Congo a Global Level 3 Emergency which is the highest level of health emergency. There are thousands of cases and ineffective containment of this contagious disease. Over 1676 people have died in this outbreak.

The World Health Organization (WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus) declared the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

The Ebola outbreak has been classified as a level 3 emergency – the most serious – by WHO, triggering the highest level of mobilization from WHO. The UN has also recognized the seriousness of the emergency by activating the Humanitarian System-wide Scale-Up to support the Ebola response.

There are increased numbers of cases in Butembo and Mabalako; the epicenter has moved from Mabalako to Beni; and there is one imported case in Goma. Factors affecting the outbreak include population movement in highly densely populated areas; weak infection and prevention control practices in many health facilities; complex political environment; continued reluctance in the community; and the ongoing unstable security situation, which led to the recent murders of two community health workers. More than 70 entry points are being monitored and 75 million screenings have been conducted, with 22 cases detected in this manner. Beni is the main hotspot; cases in other areas are decreasing. There are 2512 confirmed or probable cases, including 136 health workers affected, with 40 deaths among them. Beni remains the epicenter of the outbreak, with 46% of the cases over the last 3 weeks. Mangina has 18% of the cases, and one new case in Goma came from Beni, with diagnosis confirmed within one hour of the patient’s arrival at a health facility.

Risk remains very high at national and regional levels but still low at global level. There is cause for concern linked to the recent case in Goma, as the city is a provincial capital with an airport with international flights.