In April, we pointed out that over the prior months, many public health experts had claimed the deadly Ebola virus outbreak that has been ravaging the Congo will not become a global health threat, despite recent events painting a much less optimistic picture. We also warned that despite people in the West often thinking of Ebola as a disease that only strikes “superstitious locals” in the deepest jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo, there are now pressing warning signs and it’s time to start paying attention.
According to Reuters, the World Health Organization (WHO) is now preparing to declare an “international emergency” over the latest Ebola epidemic fast spreading through central Africa.
The deadly disease, which can take just days to kill an infected person, has now jumped from the Democratic Republic of Congo where the newest outbreak was first documented, to neighboring Uganda.
The number of total confirmed cases is reported as follows:
Congo’s epidemic is the second worst worldwide since West Africa’s Ebola outbreak in 2014-16, with 2,084 cases and 1,405 deaths since being declared in August. The WHO said on Thursday that two people had died in Uganda having arrived with the disease from Congo.
Despite hopefulness that the virus can be contained in Uganda, given so far there’s been no known human-to-human cases of its spreading inside Uganda, health officials are still urging the WHO to quickly move forward with a global emergency declaration.
The WHO’s Emergency Committee (EC) reportedly met Friday to evaluate whether the epidemic constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) amid growing pressure to immediately make the declaration.