Ebola Outbreak in Congo

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Ebola outbreak as an international health emergency. This comes on the heels of a report where it was reported that the virus has spread to an urban agglomeration of two million people.

What is Ebola?

  • Ebola is a disease caused by a Virus.
  • It is a rare and deadly disease which occurs in both humans and nonhuman primates.
  • People can get infected by Ebola through direct contact with an infected animal (bat or nonhuman primate) or a sick or dead person having Ebola virus in their body.
  • Ebola outbreaks mainly take place in sub-Saharan Africa which is already a strife-torn, poor zone.

What has happened?

  • This is the second deadliest Ebola Outbreak in the history of Congo.
  • The disease has now spread to the neighboring country of Uganda and has put millions of lives at risk of infections.
  • The declaration by the WHO of the International Health Emergency has been long overdue and experts have decried the WHO for its slow response even though the Ebola crisis met all parameters.

What is a global emergency?

The WHO defines a global health emergency as an extraordinary event which posses a significant risk to other countries and thus, requires a coordinated international response to tackle it. The declaration is mainly a call to the international community that they will need to increase financial and technical support to tackle the health crisis.

What happens now?

A declaration of a global health emergency is followed by greater international scrutiny and helps bring in more aid. However, at times, a few nervous governments might overreact and respond with border closures. This may complicate the rescue effort.


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