- Title: Ebola concentrated in Congo mining area, still an emergency - WHO
- Date: 18th October 2019
- Summary: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (OCTOBER 18, 2019) (REUTERS) NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) HEALTH EMERGENCY PROGRAMME, MICHAEL RYAN, SAYING: "I believe in places like Mambassa and most of Mandima we have a very good idea. But in the areas of Lwemba and Biakoto mine we still don't have a full picture as to where the virus may be. So, we don't believe we are dealing with a catastrophic situation, the numbers are extremely low compared to before, but we don't fully understand the dynamics of transmission in the Biakoto mine area. And that is why the DG (Director General) is expressing such caution regarding any over-interpretation of the low numbers until we have zero cases there is no zero risk."
- Embargoed: 1st November 2019 18:59
- Keywords: Ebola health WHO World Health Organization illness Ebola outbreak Democratic Republic of Congo
- Location: BENI, BUGAMBA AND MUNIGI, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO / GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
- City: BENI, BUGAMBA AND MUNIGI, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO / GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
- Country: Switzerland
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA004B1MMEDJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Ebola is infecting and killing people in a gold mining area of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and the "complex and dangerous" outbreak still constitutes an international emergency, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday (October 18).
The virus has infected 3,227 people and killed 2,154 of them since the outbreak was declared in August 2018 and went on to become the world's second worst outbreak, it said.
The WHO's Emergency Committee on Ebola reviewed the situation since declaring the outbreak an international emergency on July 17. In a statement on Friday, it said the epidemic is "currently concentrated in the Mandima health zone in the Biakato mine health area."
Speaking to a news conference, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he had accepted the independent panel's recommendation to maintain the emergency status and that it could return due to instability in eastern DRC.
Fifteen new confirmed cases were reported in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the week to Oct. 13, the WHO said in its latest update. This compared with nearly 130 cases per week at the peak in April.
But insecurity and access issues in parts of Mandima, including the Biakato mines, hamper finding infected people and tracing their contacts, as well as ensuring safe burials, said Executive Director of WHO's Health Emergency Programme Michael Ryan, adding that he believed further cases would be found in the Biakato mines.
Thirty-one of the 50 Ebola cases reported in the last three weeks were from or linked to Biakato, WHO figures show.
(Production: Cecile Mantovani, Louisa Naks)
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