News Scan for Jun 26, 2020

Ebola emergency step-down
Polio in 4 countries
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WHO declares end to DRC Ebola public health emergency

The Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC's) 10th Ebola outbreak—declared over by national health officials yesterday—no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) under the International Health Regulations, a World Health Organization (WHO) emergency committee announced today.

The group met yesterday and today for the eighth time since the outbreak began in August 2018 to discuss the latest developments and make its recommendations. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, accepted the committee's recommendations. The PHEIC was first declared on Jul 17, 2019.

In making a risk assessment, the group said the national and regional risk remains moderate and the global risk is still low. The committee said regional preparedness for the Ebola response is also being used to mount a robust response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The experts said though the outbreak that sickened people in North Kivu, Ituri, and South Kivu provinces is over, the detection of a new outbreak in Equateur province in northwestern DRC highlights the potential for reintroduction from animal reservoirs.

They congratulated the DRC's health ministry for ending the challenging outbreak and highlighted the importance of the 90-day response pan for maintaining intensive surveillance and response capacity, though they raised concerns about lack of prioritized resources to operationalize it.

"Financial and human resources of DRC, WHO, and partners are challenged by the concurrent COVID-19, cholera, and measles outbreaks," the group said in its statement "The Committee encouraged DRC, WHO, and partners to harmonize EVD, cholera, measles, and COVID-19 prevention and control activities."
Jun 26 WHO press release
Jun 25 CIDRAP News story "DRC declares end to its largest Ebola outbreak ever"


Four countries report more polio cases

Over the past week, four countries—Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chad, and Togo—reported more polio cases, according to a weekly update from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

Afghanistan reported 3 more wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases, one each in Farah, Hilmand, and Kandahar provinces, lifting its total for the year to 19. Also, testing detected 4 more circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) cases, 1 in Kunar and 3 in Nangarhar provinces, pushing that total to 17 for the year.

Neighboring Pakistan reported 2 more WPV1 cases, in Balochistan and Sindh provinces, raising the country's total for 2020 to 53.

In Africa, Chad reported 23 cVDPV2 cases in 10 different regions, 11 of them in Tandjile. The country now has 46 cases from two different outbreaks, one of which is linked to the Jigawa state outbreak in Nigeria.

Togo reported 2 more cVDPV2 cases, 1 each in Lome and Maritime provinces, raising its total for the year to 9.
Jun 25 GPEI update

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