The World Health Organization’s announcement Friday came a day after it announced that the Ebola virus had spread from a rural northwest area of the Democratic Republic of Congo to Mbandaka, a city of 1.2 million and the capital of Équateur Province, elevating the risk of a far larger contagion.
Dr. Steffen said that between April 4 and Thursday, 45 suspected Ebola cases had been reported, including in three health care workers, and 25 fatalities. Of 14 confirmed cases, he said, one was in Mbandaka, which “of course has implications with respect to its spread.”
The Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization and its partners, Dr. Steffen said, “should remain engaged in vigorous response — without that the situation is likely to deteriorate significantly.”
Nonetheless, he said, “the conditions of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern have not been met.”
Mbandaka, on the banks of the Congo River, is an important water gateway to the capital, Kinshasa, where 10 million people live, and is a hub for traffic with neighboring countries.