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Our publications keep professionals working across the public, private, and academic sectors informed on the most important developments and issues in health security and biosecurity.

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Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: time to sound a global alert?

Lawrence Gostin, Alexandra Phelan, Alex Godwin Coutinho, Mark Eccleston-Turner, Ngozi Erondu, Oyebanji Filani, Tom Inglesby, Rebecca Katz, Allan Maleche, Jennifer B Nuzzo, Oyewale Tomori, Matthew Kavanagh
Date posted:
February 16, 2019
Publication type:

Lancet 2019

See also:
The epidemic of Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the second largest in history after the 2014 west African epidemic. A storm of detrimental factors complicates this event: armed conflict, political instability, and mass displacement. WHO, the DRC Government, and non-governmental organisation (NGO) partners have shown remarkable leadership but are badly stretched. The outbreak remains far from controlled, risking a long-term epidemic with regional, perhaps global, impacts.
Faced with an evolving complex humanitarian crisis, and recent elections complete, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus should reconvene the Emergency Committee (EC) and consider declaring a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The first EC report on Oct 17, 2018, called for “intensified” action, fearing “significant deterioration”.1 The EC's fears have been prescient. Cases of Ebola virus disease have more than tripled, with an expanded geographical footprint into 18 health zones.2 Governments, including the USA, have withdrawn personnel, fearing for their safety.3



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