World Health Organization gives mixed message on Ebola fight

Details: WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu, who just returned from a trip to the DRC alongside CDC director Robert Redfield, touted the fact that despite the outbreak continuing to flare within the Congo, it has not spread to any other countries.

  • He also said the number of new cases per week is down since January.

“Despite the incredibly difficult situation, the outbreak has been contained in 11 out of the 28 communities that have had cases,” Tedros said. “You cannot say it’s failing when the outbreak is contracting.”

Tedros warned that the outbreak could grow worse if the security situation deteriorates.

Context: Medical teams struggling to extinguish this outbreak have been battling violent attacks from rebel groups and communities with a high level of distrust against them, the latest occurring Thursday.

Last week, MSF called for a new approach to gain the trust of the local population. One of MSF’s biggest concerns is that a high proportion of new deaths have been community cases, unknown to authorities beforehand. Such cases can help spread the virus further.

Johns Hopkins’ public health expert Jennifer Nuzzo says she continues to have concerns about the reliability of the case statistics, due to the interruptions from security incidents. “I just really worry that we’re missing cases,” she tells Axios.

Go deeper: Axios’ complete Ebola outbreak coverage

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