The World Health Organization (WHO) will on Wednesday convene an emergency committee to decide whether the Democratic Republic of Congo's Ebola outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of worldwide concern, the global health body said on Monday.
The crisis meeting would decide whether or not the outbreak constituted a public health emergency of global concern, and what recommendations should be made to manage the spread of the disease.
The Committee's advice will be made public on WHO's website and via a press conference (details below).
There have been 214 Ebola cases so far (179 confirmed, 35 probable), with 139 deaths (104 cases confirmed, 35 probable), according to the latest figures from the WHO. Since September, it is estimated that 66% of all newly reported cases have been in Beni and the health zone now has 76 confirmed cases and 47 confirmed deaths.
The health ministry of the Democratic Republic of Congo DRC has confirmed that no less than 24 victims out of 33 persons affected have lost their lives in the recent outbreak of Ebola virus.
Following the rapid increase in cases in north eastern DRC, the World Health Organization also warned the disease might spread to neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda, adding that those countries are well prepared but have not yet approved the use of a vaccine.
Fears and misconceptions about the virus have led to widespread mistrust and resistance to Ebola response workers, including those who come into communities wearing hazmat suits to orchestrate burials.
Because of the increase in violent events, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has relocated CDC health workers that were volunteering in violent areas, effectively pulling the workers from areas with the most need.
WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, said the agency had assessed the national and regional risk of the current Ebola outbreak in DRC as "very high".
Last week a U.N worker in the Democratic Republic of Congo tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus. A total of 32 of these patients have recovered and 20 remain now hospitalized.
Since Ebola virus was first identified in 1976, sporadic outbreaks have been reported in Africa. The eastern region is close to the border with Uganda, and Rwanda.