EBOLA “a public health emergency of international concerns”, WHO says No (again)
Increasing rate of deaths due to Ebola virus in Congo is a major concern. Despite this, on Friday, WHO decided not to declare Ebola virus a “public health emergency of international concern” ( the most intimidating global health crises).
According to Congo’s Health Ministry, since August 2018, more than 1,200 people have suffered with Ebola in Congo; of which 764 died. And the flare-up has worsened significantly in the recent weeks, as 20 new cases were confirmed on Thursday.
Graphical Representation of Ebola cases (Source: WHO)
This new outbreak is said to be the largest after the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa — it was so intense that it killed more than 11,000 patients of 28,610 identified. Also, WHO faced some serious criticism as it happened on its watch.
Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 near Ebola river (The Democratic republic of Congo). It is a rare and severe infection that mostly affects humans and non-human primates (monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees). It occurs through-out Sub Saharan Africa and is caused through infection from the virus family called Filoviridae, genus Ebola-virus.
- Direct skin contact
- Mucous Membrane contact with the blood
- Bodily Fluids of infected humans
- The placenta
- Muscle Ache
- Abdominal pain
- Haemorrhage(in few cases)
Currently, there are no licensed vaccinations for Ebola-virus. Although, one vaccine named “Ebola ca suffit” was very effective in a trial over 4000 patients in Guinea. The main prevention strategy is personal protection.
Till now, WHO has declared four emergencies in the past decade: the H1N1 virus that caused an influenza pandemic (2009), a major Ebola outbreak in West Africa (2014), polio (2014) and Zika virus (2016).
At last, this battle against Ebola will continue, but we need to understand that this endemic cannot be finished by the efforts of WHO alone, instead it requires co-operation from both international and local bodies.