International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee Holds Fifth Meeting on Multi-Country Outbreak
The International Health Regulations Emergency Committee held its fifth meeting to discuss the ongoing multi-country outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in West Africa. The meeting was held on 21 March 2019, and was chaired by the Committee’s Chairperson Robert Steffen.
What is the International Health Regulations (2005)?
The International Health Regulations (2005) is a legally binding international instrument, signed by 196 countries, including all Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO), which aims to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease. It requires all countries to build their own capacity to detect, assess and respond to public health risks, and to report certain events and potential public health emergencies of international concern (PHEICs) to the WHO.
What is the Ebola virus disease?
Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. It is transmitted through direct contact with the blood, body fluids, organs or semen of infected animals or people, and has an incubation period of 2-21 days.
Updates on the Ebola virus disease outbreak
The ongoing Ebola virus disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has now surpassed 1,000 cases, with over 600 deaths recorded so far. The outbreak has been ongoing since August 2018. Additionally, there have been several cases of Ebola virus disease reported in neighbouring Uganda, which has prompted vaccination campaigns and close surveillance of potential cases.
Outcomes of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee meeting
The Committee noted the continued transmission of Ebola virus disease in the affected regions of the DRC and Uganda, and emphasized the need for enhanced surveillance and response efforts in these countries. They also praised the outbreak response efforts so far and the positive impact of vaccination.
The Committee concluded that the Ebola virus disease outbreak in the DRC and Uganda still constitutes a PHEIC under the International Health Regulations (2005), and made several recommendations for all Member States, including:
– Continued vigilance and preparedness to rapidly detect and respond to potential Ebola virus disease cases
– Continued cross-border collaboration and sharing of information to prevent the spread of the disease
– Enhanced surveillance, data sharing, and research to better understand the transmission and impact of the virus
– Encouragement to Member States to avoid the imposition of travel restrictions or other measures that would interfere with international trade and travel.
The Committee will continue to meet periodically to review the situation and provide guidance and recommendations to Member States as needed.
The International Health Regulations Emergency Committee held its fifth meeting to discuss the ongoing Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa. They noted that the outbreak still constitutes a PHEIC under the International Health Regulations (2005), and made several recommendations for Member States to continue efforts to prevent the spread of the disease. The Committee will continue to meet periodically to review the situation. #InternationalHealthRegulations #EbolaVirusDisease #PublicHealthEmergencies #OutbreakResponse #WHO #DRC #Uganda #CrossborderCollaboration #HEALTH