The head of the World Health Organization is convening a meeting of experts Wednesday July 17, 2019 to decide whether the Ebola outbreak should be declared an global emergency after spreading to eastern Congo's biggest city, Goma, this week.
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"It is time for the world to take notice and redouble our efforts".
Ebola is highly infectious and spread through bodily fluids.
"Now is the time for the global community to stand in solidarity with the people of DRC".
World Health Organization said that since the Ebola epidemic was declared last August 1, there have been more than 2,500 cases, including almost 1,670 deaths.
A WHO expert committee has declined on three previous occasions to advise the United Nations health agency to make the declaration, but other experts say the outbreak has long met the conditions.
But WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this week that the case in Goma was a potential game-changer, since it meant Ebola might now spread among the urban population and into neighbouring Rwanda.
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On Sunday, the first case of Ebola was discovered in Goma, a city of 2 million.
Esperant Mulumba, Christian Aid's acting country manager for the DRC, who is in Goma, said on Monday that there was a "sense of shock" that Ebola had reached the city. Two Congolese-Ugandans also died from the virus after crossing into Uganda in June.
According to a situation report from the WHO's African regional office, the woman had symptoms when she arrived, and investigators found she had four vomiting episodes at a food vending location in the market.
Since it was declared nearly a year ago the outbreak has been classified as a level 3 emergency - the most serious - by World Health Organization, triggering the highest level of mobilization from WHO.
A Congolese health worker administers ebola vaccine to a child at the Himbi Health Centre in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo on July 17, 2019.
Since Aug. 8, 2018, more than 163,500 people have been vaccinated against Ebola in the outbreak zone in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, using an experimental vaccine developed by American pharmaceutical company Merck. It is the second-largest outbreak after the 2014 historic epidemic in West Africa that killed more than 11,300 people. The attacks have led to spikes in cases and hurt the painstaking work of tracing the thousands of people who have come into contact with those infected. "Despite significant improvement in many places, there is concern about potential spread from Goma", it said.
"This isn't like past Ebola outbreaks, which occurred in relatively stable climates".
Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga, MD, has said he prefers to focus on the now used vaccine, VSV-EBOV, and has aired concerns that introducing a second vaccine might upset the population and complicate messaging.