The ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo now constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, the World Health Organization announced on Wednesday.
“The risk of Ebola spread in DRC and the region remains very high, and the risk of spread outside the region remains low,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, said during a press conference on Wednesday.
“Now is the time for the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of DRC.”
WHO defines a public health emergency of international concern as “an extraordinary event” that constitutes a “public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease” and “to potentially require a coordinated international response.”
With its latest declaration, WHO does not recommend any restrictions on travel or trade, but rather the organization released recommendations for affected countries, which include to continue strengthening community awareness and screenings, among other actions.
This Ebola outbreak began last summer. On the first day of August in 2018, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo declared an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the country’s North Kivu province.
Now the World Health Organization reports a total of 2,512 Ebola cases and 1,676 deaths involved in the outbreak, as of Monday.