WHO declares Ebola outbreak as global health emergency in DR Congo

Published: July 18, 2019

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The outbreak in DR Congo has killed more than 1,600 people. The outbreak, the second largest in history, started in August 2018 and is affecting two provinces in DR Congo – North Kivu and Ituri. This is the fifth such declaration in history. Previous emergencies were declared for the devastating 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,000 people, the emergence of Zika in the Americas, the swine flu pandemic and polio. Ebola is a virus that initially causes sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat. It progresses to vomiting, diarrhoea and both internal and external bleeding. People are infected when they have direct contact through broken skin, or the mouth and nose, with the blood, vomit, faeces or bodily fluids of someone with Ebola. Patients tend to die from dehydration and multiple organ failure.

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