A worker from the World Health Organization (WHO) decontaminates the doorway of a house on a plot where two cases of Ebola were found, in the village of Mabalako, in eastern Congo Monday, June 17, 2019. Health officials in eastern Congo have begun offering vaccinations to all residents in the hotspot of Mabalako whereas previous efforts had only targeted known contacts or those considered to be at high risk. (AP Photo/Al-hadji Kudra Maliro)

The Latest: WHO assessing if Ebola outbreak global emergency

July 15, 2019 - 7:02 am

BENI, Congo (AP) — The Latest on Ebola (all times local):

2 p.m.

The head of the World Health Organization says he is reconvening the U.N. agency's expert committee to assess whether or not the continuing Ebola outbreak in Congo warrants being declared a global emergency.

At a meeting convened in Geneva by WHO on Monday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the spread of Ebola to Goma, a city of 2 million people was a potential "game-changer." He said the development was one WHO and Congolese officials had been prepared for and described the situation as one of the most complex humanitarian emergencies ever faced.

Still, Tedros said the U.N. agency is "confident" in the response measures put in place and predicted there would be no further Ebola cases in Goma.

Tedros did not say when the expert committee would be convened; the group has met three times previously and decided each time against declaring the epidemic to be an international emergency.


12 p.m.

With Ebola reaching Congo's eastern city of Goma, authorities are tracking down bus passengers who rode with a pastor who became the first confirmed case in the regional capital.

Dr. Harouna Djingarey with the World Health Organization's Ebola response said they have located the two buses that the man took before he reached Goma on Sunday.

Djingarey said Monday that the case is worrying because Goma is "the door of this region to the rest of the world." The city of more than 2 million is on the border with Rwanda.

Health officials have feared since the beginning of the outbreak last August that cases could emerge in Goma.

The Ebola outbreak has killed nearly 1,700 people in Congo and two others who returned home to Uganda while sick.

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