The head of the World Health Organization has dismissed accusations authorities are failing to bring the long-running Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo under control.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general, told a press conference that the disease has been contained in four areas and is now confined to just two hotspots – the towns of Butembo and Katwa. The average number of weekly cases has also halved to around 25, from a high of 50 in January, he said.
Dr Tedros’s more upbeat assessment was in stark contrast to analysis by Médecins Sans Frontières international president Dr Joanne Liu last week. She told a press conference that despite deployment of new tools, such as a vaccine and an experimental medicine, there were no signs the outbreaks was coming under control as around half of new cases were not from known chains of transmission.
But Dr Tedros disputed this.
“One good news is that for the last seven months the disease has been contained in the geographical area called North Kivu. It hasn’t spread to other parts of the country and it hasn’t spread to other countries,” he said.
But he said he did not want to underplay the risk the disease continues to pose.