WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has convened an International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Committee is meeting today, 18 May, in Geneva to ascertain whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, and what recommendations should be made to manage the outbreak.
The Committee’s advice will be made public on WHO’s website and via a press conference this afternoon (details below).
Background on the outbreak
On 8 May 2018, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Bikoro Health Zone, Equateur Province. This is the ninth outbreak of Ebola virus disease over the last four decades in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the most recent occurring in May 2017.
Ministry of Health, WHO and partners have teams on the ground responding to the outbreak.
WHO risk assessment
A recently confirmed case in Mbandaka, a large urban centre located on major national and international river, road and domestic air routes increases the risk of spread within the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to neighbouring countries. WHO has therefore revised the assessment of public health risk to very high at the national level and high at the regional level.
At the global level the risk is currently low. As further information becomes available, the risk assessment will be reviewed.
WHO continues to advise against any restriction of travel and trade to the Democratic Republic of the Congo based on the currently available information. WHO continues to monitor travel and trade measures in relation to this event, and currently there are no restrictions on international traffic in place.
Based on the current situation and information available, the WHO Director-General has convened an Emergency Committee under the IHR (2005) on Friday 18 May to provide advice on whether the current outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, and what recommendations should be made to manage the outbreak.
The Emergency Committee meeting started at 11:00 am in Geneva. It will be followed by a press conference. Access details are below.