GENEVA (Reuters) – A World Health Organization panel decided on Friday not to declare an international emergency over Congo’s Ebola outbreak despite its spread to Uganda this week, concluding such a declaration could cause too much economic harm.
Congo’s epidemic is the second worst ever, with 2,108 cases of Ebola and 1,411 deaths since last August. This week, it reached Uganda, where three cases were recorded, all in people who had arrived from Congo. Two of them died.
In a statement, the panel of 13 independent medical experts on the WHO’s Emergency Committee urged neighboring “at risk” countries to improve their preparedness for detecting and managing imported cases, “as Uganda has done”.
“This is not a global emergency, it is an emergency in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a severe emergency and it may affect neighboring counties,” Dr. Preben Aavitsland, the panel’s acting chair, told a news conference at the U.N. agency’s headquarters in Geneva.
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