The World Health Organisation's (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Adhanom convened an Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations following the recent outbreak of Ebola in DR Congo.
Alarmed by the recent surge in Ebola cases in the African nation, Adhanom issued a statement on Twitter saying:
The WHO recently reported that 29 new cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) have been confirmed in the nation, while the total figure stands at 211 EVD cases (176 confirmed cases, 35 probable) as of October 13. Out of this, 135 people have lost their lives due to the deadly disease, while an increasing trend in weekly case incidence has been confirmed.
The organisation stated that the trends are "underestimated" due to late reporting of cases, the detection of cases and security concerns which largely limit contact, as this is a highly communicable disease. The health organisation further said that females have been accounted for a greater proportion of cases.
Furthermore, out of the new cases confirmed, at least 15 have been linked to known cases "or were linked retrospectively through case to transmission chains within the respective communities". The article, published on WHO's official website, also mentioned that the organisation is closely monitoring the situation in the African nation and neighbouring countries along with DR Congo's Ministry of Public and Health and its partners in the nation. However, it also highlighted that all EVD alerts from neighbouring nations have been ruled out, indicating that the outbreak is contained in Congo at the moment. Mass vaccination drives are being undertaken by the organisation, while burial teams are either operational or on standby across the nation.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) of DR Congo had declared a new outbreak of EVD in North Kivu Province on August 1 this year. The full extent of the outbreak is still being established by WHO, its partners, and Congo's MoH. Experts from USA's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been "pulled back" from the nation due to safety concerns with regards to the Ebola outbreak.
Ebola is an infectious and frequently fatal disease marked by fever and severe internal bleeding, spread through contact with infected body fluids by a filovirus. Since Ebola virus was first identified in 1976, sporadic outbreaks have been reported in Africa. But the 2013-2016 West African Ebola outbreak resulted in more than 11,300 deaths and raised an international alarm due to the sheer multitude of human deaths.