- The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided not to declare Africa’s latest Ebola outbreak, a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
- Democratic Republic of Congo is dealing with the second largest Ebola outbreak ever with 2,025 cases of the disease being already reported. The outbreak has spread internationally, from the DRC into Uganda.
- The largest outbreak was in West Africa in 2014-16. It affected more than 28,000 people mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
- Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a rare but severe, often fatal illness in humans. Ebola was first discovered in 1976
- It is caused by Ebolavirus. There are 6 species of Ebolavirus which have been identified till date: Zaire, Bundibugyo, Sudan, Taï Forest, Reston and Bombali.
- According to WHO, fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural Ebola virus hosts. The virus is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope or porcupines etc.
- Ebola then spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact. The average Ebola case fatality rate is around 50%.
- The term Public Health Emergency of International Concern is defined as an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response.
- The WHO has only declared a public health emergency four times since the International Health Regulations, which govern global health emergency responses, were enacted in 2007.
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