Ebola a global health risk – WHO
West Africa’s Ebola epidemic is an “extraordinary event” and now constitutes an international health risk, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The UN’s health agency said the possible consequences of a further international spread of the outbreak, which has killed almost 1 000 people in four west African countries, were “particularly serious” in view of the virulence of Ebola.
“A coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola,” the WHO said late on Friday after a two-day meeting of its emergency committee on Ebola.
The declaration of an international emergency will have the effect of raising the level of vigilance on the virus.
“The outbreak is moving faster than we can control it,” said the WHO’s directorgeneral, Margaret Chan, in a telephone briefing from the organisation’s
A coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION
headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
“The declaration ... will galvanise the attention of leaders of all countries at the top level. It cannot be done by the ministries of health alone.”
The agency said that while all states with Ebola transmission – so far Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone – should declare a national emergency, there should not be a general ban on international travel or trade.
Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s head of health security, stressed that with the right measures to deal with infected people, the spread of Ebola – which is transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids – could be stopped.
“This is not a mysterious disease. This is an infectious disease that can be contained,” he said.
“It is not a virus that is spread through the air.” – Reuters