Congo’s Ebola outbreak might be declared global emergency
A top Red Cross official said Friday he’s “more concerned than I have ever been” about the possible regional spread of the Ebola virus after a new spike in cases, as the World Health Organization met on whether to declare the outbreak in Congo an international health emergency.
Emanuele Capobianco, head of health and care at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, cited Congolese health ministry statistics showing 40 new cases over two days this week. He called that rate unprecedented in this outbreak.
The Ebola outbreak in Congo announced on Aug. 1 has become the second-deadliest in history, behind the West African one from 2014-16 that killed more than 11,300 people. Congo’s health ministry on Thursday reported 1,206 confirmed and probable cases, including 764 deaths.
To be designated a public health emergency of international concern, a situation must be “serious, unusual or unexpected,” threaten to infect other countries and require “immediate international action.”
This outbreak has been like no other. Capobianco cited lack of trust about Ebola treatment in the community, which had never faced an outbreak of the virus before, and insecurity caused by rebel groups that has hurt aid efforts.\