Although the number of new confirmed Ebola cases in the DRC has dropped since earlier this summer, the WHO's latest assessment (Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo) increases the national and regional public health risk levels to VERY HIGH due to `. . . recent increases in insecurity, incidents of community reluctance and geographical spread.'
Last week's risk assessment read (in part):
Based on this context, the public health risk was assessed to be high at the national and regional levels, and low globally.
As the risk of national and regional spread remains high, it is important for neighbouring provinces and countries to enhance surveillance and preparedness activities. WHO will continue to work with neighbouring countries and partners to ensure health authorities are alerted and are operationally ready to respond.The latest assessment raises the ante, with:
This outbreak of EVD is affecting north-eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which border Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan. Potential risk factors for transmission of EVD at the national and regional levels include the transportation links between the affected areas, the rest of the country, and neighbouring countries; the internal displacement of populations; and the displacement of Congolese refugees to neighbouring countries.
The country is concurrently experiencing other epidemics (e.g. cholera, vaccine-derived poliomyelitis), and a long-term humanitarian crisis. Additionally, the security situation in North Kivu and Ituri continues to hinder the implementation of response activities. Since the last Disease Outbreak News on 20 September 2018, WHO has assessed the risk to be very high at the national and regional levels, and low globally3.
As the risk of national and regional spread is very high, it is important for neighbouring provinces and countries to enhance surveillance and preparedness activities3. WHO will continue to work with neighbouring countries and partners to ensure health authorities are alerted and are operationally ready to respond.
WHO adviceWHO advises against any restriction of travel and trade to the Democratic Republic of the Congo based on the currently available information. WHO continues to closely monitor and, if necessary, verify travel and trade measures in relation to this event. Currently, no countries have implemented any travel restriction to and from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Travellers should seek medical advice before travel and should practice good hygiene.
(Continue . . . )