The Ebola outbreak in Congo is not yet a ‘global health emergency,’ WHO says

Congo Ebola death toll hits 1,000, Beni, Congo, The Democratic Republic Of The - 04 May 2019
A health worker gets dressed in protective garments last month at an Ebola treatment center in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
(Hugh Kinsella Cunningham / EPA/Shutterstock)

The World Health Organization says the Ebola virus outbreak in Congo — which spread to Uganda this week — does not yet merit being declared a global emergency but is “an extraordinary event” of deep concern.

The U.N. health agency convened its expert committee for the third time Friday to assess the outbreak, which has killed more than 1,400 people. Some experts say the outbreak met the criteria to be designated an international emergency long ago.

At a press briefing following the meeting, Dr. Preben Aavitsland, the acting chair of the committee, announced that the outbreak is “a health emergency in the Democratic Republic of the Congo” but that the situation does not yet meet the criteria for being declared a global emergency.

The outbreak was announced on Aug. 1 in eastern Congo and has become the second-deadliest in history, after the West African outbreak in 2014 that killed more than 11,300 people.


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