Medicine

Rebels kill 12 in Ebola area in Congo

Rebels kill 12 in Ebola area in Congo

"Strong pressure has been exerted for several months to roll out a new experiment in the DR Congo", he wrote.

"As a result of your decision to place the response to the Ebola outbreak under your source supervision..."

Congo's minister of health resisted the characterization of the outbreak as a health emergency.

"As in any war, because that is what this is, there can not be several centres of decision-making for risk of creating confusion", said the letter.

He mentioned members of that committee had interfered with his work in recent months.

The way in which the World Health Organization refers to the nation is just one of the issues involved, he said, adding that the ministry has told the secretariat that "the door is open". Previous emergencies were declared for the devastating 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,000 people, the emergence of Zika in the Americas, the swine flu pandemic and polio.

Ilunga also objected to suggestions "by actors who have demonstrated a clear lack of ethics" to introduce a second vaccine to the country's fight against the highly-infectious haemorrhagic virus disease.

The outbreak has killed more than 1,700 people over the past year leaving dozens hospitalised.

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"No country should close its borders or place any restrictions on travel and trade, including general quarantine of travelers from the Ebola-affected countries, now the DRC", the joint AU-WHO statement read.

Though the disease has yet to spread beyond the DRC, its risk of doing so is high, especially as cases have begun to crop up in Goma, near the border with Rwanda.

The joint call came after the WHO last week declared the ongoing Ebola virus disease outbreak in DRC as a public health emergency of global concern (PHEIC). A PHEIC is defined in the IHR (2005) as, "an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the worldwide spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated global response".

This is not the first time an Ebola epidemic would be transmitted across borders.

It also affected Nigeria when a passenger from Liberia "imported" the disease into the country.

Since the outbreak in August 2018, according to Médecins Sans Frontières, over 2500 cases of the disease have been reported, and at least 1600 people have died.

Nevertheless, everybody isn't vaccinated - only those that come into direct contact with an Ebola-affected person, and individuals who come into contact with them.