The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday, said its assessment of the Ebola virus spread in DR Congo has been raised from “high” to “very high” as the diseases spread to the city of Mbandaka on Thursday.
The world health body said in a statement that 45 cases have been recorded, with 25 deaths so far. Fourteen cases are confirmed. previously.
The risk to countries in the region was now “high”, raised from “moderate”, but the global risk remained “low”, the WHO said.
Mbandaka’s population is about 1.5 million in the northwest. Previous reports of the disease had all been in remote areas where Ebola might spread be more easily contained.
There are three cases in the city already with one confirmed.
“The confirmed case in Mbandaka, a large urban center located on major national and international river, road and domestic air routes, increases the risk of spread within the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to neighboring countries,” the WHO said.
WHO has convened an Emergency Committee of experts to advise on the international response to the outbreak, and decide whether it constitutes a “public health emergency of international concern”.
The nightmare scenario is an outbreak in Kinshasa, a crowded city where millions live in unsanitary slums not connected to a sewer system.
The WHO is sending 7,540 doses of an experimental vaccine to try to stop the outbreak in its tracks, and 4,300 doses have already arrived in Kinshasa. It will be used to protect healthworkers and “rings” of contacts around each case