WHO says it can fight Ebola outbreak despite US withdrawal


The head of the World Health Organization said Monday it can fight the deadly Ebola outbreak in Congo despite the withdrawal of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, insisting: "We can cover it."

The comments by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus came in the wake of commentaries in two medical journals appealing to the CDC to return to the epidemic zone in Congo — saying its expertise is needed. The U.S. experts have been sidelined for weeks, ordered away from the region because of State Department security concerns.

Violence by rebel groups has complicated efforts to battle what is now the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak. The CDC — which is twice as large as WHO — has said its staff would return to the epidemic area once it is safe.

Tedros said the U.N. health agency mostly needs the United States to continue the financial and other support it has provided. He noted the U.S. and many other developed countries have security guidelines that prevent deployments in conflict-ridden zones like the Ebola-hit area of eastern Congo.

"We can mobilize from other parts, from those institutions who don't have very strict security provisions like that," Tedros told reporters at WHO headquarters. "We can cover it."

Tedros praised a commitment from U.S. President Donald Trump, expressed at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina over the weekend, about his administration's "support in any way possible" in the fight against the outbreak.

"They promise to continue supporting us in finance and other (ways), and that, I think, would suffice," Tedros said.

He said experts from the CDC are still helping, sharing data and analysis.

The Ebola response director for the International Rescue Committee, Dr. Stacey Mearns, said the absence of CDC experts can be felt acutely, telling The Associated Press on Friday that they have rich experience in tracking cases, testing and treatment.

Tedros said WHO has now counted some 440 cases of Ebola and 255 deaths from the outbreak in Congo's North Kivu regions that first emerged in August. He said the risk of international spread remains.

Unlike the far-deadlier outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,000 people from 2014 to 2016, international health experts have this time deployed a new experimental vaccine to fight Ebola. Tedros said some 39,000 people have been vaccinated during the current outbreak.


Reader Comments


Next Up in Health

Scam alert: Fake Amazon email targets online shoppers
Scam alert: Fake Amazon email targets online shoppers

The holiday season is a busy time of year for everybody, including scammers. There is an email scam going around with a new twist that targets online shoppers. This latest scam specifically goes after people who use Amazon. While online shopping may be more convenient, it can also be riskier. In the latest scam, an email that appears to be...
Freezing? Oakwood woman launches new athletic pants that let you cover up and keep your shoes on
Freezing? Oakwood woman launches new athletic pants that let you cover up and keep your shoes on

Patty Vanderburgh had three bad options when she was running off to her boot camp exercise class on cold January days five or so years ago: 1. freezing her tail off as she ran between her car and the  gym in her shorts in 5 degree weather 2. pulling basic sweatpants on over her shoes and shorts  3. buttoning up a pair of old-school tear-away...
The Christmas gift that gives back: tummy rubs for dogs
The Christmas gift that gives back: tummy rubs for dogs

Many dogs love tummy rubs. Teddy, our 4-year-old Lab, is no exception. Just walk by him, and if you connect with his gaze, he’s got you. Big, round eyes with tail thumping — how could any softy resist? I can’t. My husband, Ed, and daughter, Jordan, can’t either. Dr. Peter Brown on petmd.com says tummy rubbing are soothing. &ldquo...
5 Christmas traditions that aren't as traditional as you think
5 Christmas traditions that aren't as traditional as you think

Your Christmas traditions may feel like they've been around for a long time, but many aren't as traditional as you might think.  They may have origins that go back for years, but, in many cases, they've evolved quite a bit. Otherwise, the popular image of Santa Claus might still be "Rough Nicholas" instead of the jolly figure we know...
Mexican street food, ‘crazy flavors’ and nearly everything else served at new Huber Heights restaurant 
Mexican street food, ‘crazy flavors’ and nearly everything else served at new Huber Heights restaurant 

One of the Dayton area’s newest restaurants offers flavors for your taste buds and your eyeballs.  Bright and boldly decorated in a rainbow of colors, Pepe’s Mexican Flavors has a menu packed with everything from Doriliocos (a bag of Doritos served with pickled skin pork, cucumber, jicama, pico de gallo, lemon, peanuts and...
More Stories