GENEVA- The World Health Organisation  (WHO) on Friday Democratic Republic of Congo faces a “very high” public health risk from Ebola after the disease was confirmed in one patient in a major city, raising its assessment from “high” previously.

WHO says that risk countries in the region are now in “high” alert but the global risk remains low.

The assessment by WHO comes after the first case was confirmed in Mbandaka, a city of about 1.5 million people. Previous reports of  the Ebola virus was is remote areas disease, meaning the disease could spread more slowly.

WHO said, “The confirmed case in Mbandaka, a large urban centre located on major national and international river, road and domestic air routes increases the risk of spread within the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to neighbouring countries

WHO Deputy Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response Peter Salama speaking at a press conference said that a risk assessment is being reviewed, “We’re certainly not trying to cause any panic in the national or international community,” he said.

“What we’re saying though is that urban Ebola is very different phenomenon to rural Ebola because we know that people in urban areas can have far more contacts so that means that urban Ebola can result in an exponential increase in cases in a way that rural Ebola struggles to do.”

On Friday WHO did convene an emergency meeting to discuss response of a possible international outbreak and decide whether it constitutes “public health emergency of international concern. ”

Photo Credit- RTE

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