April 12, 2019 / 5:56 PM / 2 months ago

WHO opts not to label Congo Ebola outbreak an international emergency

GENEVA (Reuters) - A World Health Organization emergency committee has opted not to designate an eight-month-old outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo as an emergency of international concern, its chairman said on Friday, but it urged neighboring countries to increase their preparedness.

Dr. Robert Steffen, chair of the WHO Emergency Committee on Ebola, told a Geneva news conference after it met: “The Emergency Committee almost unanimously decided against recommending to the director-general of WHO to declare a public health emergency of international concern.”

The deadly disease is concentrated in two Congo provinces and cases are rising in remaining epicenters, notably Butembo, Katwa, Vuhovi and Mandima, the panel said in a statement.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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