As the current Ebola virus outbreak burns through the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), public health officials are now warning the disease is threatening global health. In a recent article published in The Lancet, 12 leading global health policy experts argue that World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus “should reconvene the Emergency Committee (EC) and consider declaring a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).” The authors also noted that while health care personnel in the DRC are working tirelessly to control the virus, the current response is overwhelmed.

“Effective mitigation requires case identification,” the authors wrote in The Lancet. “Yet less than 20% of new Ebola cases have been on known contact lists. This situation undercuts vital interventions, such as contact investigations, isolation, and safe burials. WHO might have to shift from ring vaccination to vaccination based on geographical location, but doing so effectively will require far more doses; limited vaccine supplies, therefore, are concerning.”

Currently, more than 780 people have been infected with Ebola in the DRC, and nearly 500 have died, according to the most recent update from the WHO. More than a quarter of the dead are from the city of Beni, in North Kivu province, which sits on the border with both Uganda and Rwanda. The WHO also claims that more than 7,200 people are under medical surveillance.

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