WHO Declares Ebola Outbreak
in the Congo a Global Emergency

With More than 2,500 Cases, More than 1,700 Deaths


On July 17, the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared that the year-old Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is now a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.” WHO has already identified Ebola as one of the 10 threats to global health in 2019.*


Dr. Tedros said, “It is time for the world to take notice and redouble our efforts. We need to work together in solidarity with the DRC to end this outbreak and build a better health system. …This is about mothers, fathers and children — too often entire families are stricken. At the heart of this are communities and individual tragedies.”


The widening geographical scope of the disease is causing an increase in security incidents due to civil unrest and violence against health workers in the DRC. The spread of EVD into the Congolese city of Goma near the border of Rwanda is further reason for concern; two deaths from the virus occurred in Uganda in June, but none have been reported so far since then.


After the Ebola outbreak in West Africa five years ago, WiRED International produced the first computer-based, expertly written, peer-reviewed Ebola health learning series, which developed into a prevention education program throughout Africa. In addition, WiRED offers four Ebola modules which have been translated into French.


WiRED will continue to monitor and report on the ongoing situation in the DRC.



What is Ebola?

  • Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
  • The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals, and it spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
  • The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.
  • The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests. The 2014–2016 outbreak in West Africa involved major urban areas as well as rural ones.
  • Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, infection prevention and control practices, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe and dignified burials and social mobilization.
  • Early supportive care with rehydration and symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is as yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralize the virus, but blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.

Source: WHO



*In order, the WHO's top 10 global health threats:

  • Air pollution and climate change
  • Noncommunicable diseases
  • Threat of a global influenza pandemic
  • Fragile and vulnerable settings, such as regions affected by drought and conflict
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Ebola and high-threat pathogens
  • Weak primary care
  • Vaccine hesitancy
  • Dengue
  • HIV









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