“The confirmation of new Ebola cases in Uganda is tragic but unfortunately not surprising,” Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, a London-based health research institution, said in a statement. “This epidemic is in a truly frightening phase and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.”
The Congo outbreak is the second-deadliest on record, infecting more than 2,071 people and causing at least 1,396 deaths in the country as of June 10, according to the W.H.O. Its epicenter in a conflict zone has complicated efforts to contain the disease.
Health workers, including doctors, have been attacked and killed, and some treatment centers have been destroyed. In April, the Islamic State claimed its first assault in the affected area.
International health experts also have expressed worry about an acceleration in the number of Ebola infections. While it took about eight months to reach 1,000 cases, it has taken only a few months to surpass 2,000.
The W.H.O.’s Emergency Committee has twice before concluded that the outbreak does not represent a global health threat, partly because it had not spread across borders.
Declaring the outbreak as such a health threat, known as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, would increase the level of attention that the W.H.O.’s member countries devote to combat it.
After the committee’s most recent conclusion, in April, its chairman, Robert Steffen, said the experts were “moderately optimistic” the outbreak could be brought under control. “Not immediately,” he said, “but still within a foreseeable time.”
The largest Ebola outbreak in history ravaged the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from 2014 to 2016, killing more than 11,300 people.
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