Ebola Still Constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern

Colorized transmission electron micrograph of Ebola virus particles (purple) attached to and budding from an infected VERO E6 cell (green). Credit: NIAID

The second-biggest Ebola outbreak in history, which has upended life in eastern Congo’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces since August 2018, infecting nearly 3,500 people and killing about 2,250, is down to its last chain of transmission.

Despite ongoing violence that has hampered the response from its outset, and that has spiked again recently, new cases have dwindled.

The waning of the Ebola outbreak comes as a new one captures global attention — and, potentially, funding as well. Global health officials have warned that while the novel coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, racks up thousands of new cases a day, the hard work of ending the Ebola outbreak and preventing another is far from over.

“Funding needs [for the Ebola response] have not as yet been fully met, and currently there is a risk there will not be funding for WHO activities beyond February,” said Margaret Harris, a World Health Organization spokeswoman.

On Wednesday, an independent committee that advises the WHO unanimously agreed the Ebola outbreak “still constitutes a public health emergency of international concern” — a designation that was recently extended to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Read more at the Washington Post

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