IHR Emergency Committee statement on Ebola virus outbreak in the DRC

23 October 2018

Article: 52/4205

A meeting of the International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee took place on 17 October 2018, in regard to the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), convened by World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. As of 16 October 2018, a total of 220 EVD cases (185 confirmed and 35 probable), including 142 deaths (107 confirmed and 35 probable) have been reported in seven health zones in North Kivu Province and three health zones in Ituri Province.

It was the view of the committee that a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) should not be declared at this time. However, the committee reports that it remains deeply concerned by the outbreak and emphasised that response activities need to be intensified and ongoing vigilance is critical. As a result of this discussion they issued additional public health advice including:

  • prioritise the protection of health workers and facilities;
  • special emphasis should be placed on the response in Beni and Butembo;
  • efforts to link epidemiological data with real-time full genome sequencing should be supported to clarify chains of transmission;
  • the granting of licences for vaccines should be urgently sought and efforts made to increase the limited global supply;
  • neighbouring countries should accelerate preparedness and surveillance;
  • exit screening, including at airports, ports, and land crossings, is of great importance. However, entry screening, particularly in distant airports, is not considered to be of any public health or cost-benefit value.

Source: WHO, 17 October 2018