It is not yet a WHO decision but experts claim the EBOLA outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is so serious it should be declared an international health emergency.
The deadly epidemic is the second largest in history and claimed more than 480 lives. WHO’s emergency committee last met in October but the number of cases has tripled since then. The risk of the disease spreading across the border into Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan is also high. More resources and a coordinated international response are required. There was a precedent: the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak in West Africa claimed 11,000 lifes. WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said: “WHO and our partners in DRC and neighbouring countries are watching carefully to detect any signs that we might need to call an expert committee.”
Health workers continue to track down people who have come into contact with Ebola patients and to vaccinate those living in and around the areas where it's spreading in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces. But many people don’t seek help so they hide in their homes and in the forest. Drugmaker Merck has been working on forming a vaccine for Congo.