Congolese Health Minister quits over change of tactic in fighting EBOLA outbreak

Congolese Health Minister quits over change of tactic in fighting EBOLA outbreak

A vaccine, which is 99% effective and has already been given to 161,000 people, has been available throughout the latest outbreak.

The declaration comes days after a single case was confirmed in Goma, a major regional crossroads in northeastern Congo on the Rwandan border, with an global airport.

While the risk of regional spread remains high, the risk outside the region remains low, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said after the announcement in Geneva.

"The biggest challenge is a community that either doesn't believe or doesn't wish to believe that Ebola is a real and present threat", she said.

St Lucia and Barbados have both indicated that steps are being taken to ensure that their populations are not put at risk for the disease the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

Many hundreds of people have since fled the area.

Liu said vaccination strategies should be broadened and that more efforts should be made to build trust within communities.

The UN health agency declares an emergency when a public health event, such as an outbreak, becomes extraordinary because it constitutes a risk to other countries, and when a coordinated worldwide response is required.

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"Certainly not for countries as far away as ours", Dr Fredericks-James said, noting that countries near the DRC or which share land borders with the African nation would need screening measures for persons crossing the borders into or out of that country.

The PHEIC was declared after a World Health Organization emergency-committee meeting heard that a case had been confirmed in Goma, a city on the Rwandan border with a population of 2 million.

As of July 20, 1,643 people have died, among 2,484 confirmed cases of Ebola, a fatality rate of about 66 percent.

Alexandra Phelan, a global health expert at Georgetown University Law Center, said the July 17 declaration was long overdue.

Ever since the current outbreak was declared in August 2018, Africa CDC has supported the efforts of the Government of the DRC in several ways. It has killed more than 1,700 people and infected more than 800 others.

Alongside the Ministry of Public Health of the DRC, WHO is leading the coordination of the public health response.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recognize any vaccine to protect people against Ebola, however an experimental vaccine known as rVSV-ZEBOV is now been used.

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

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