WHO declares Ebola outbreak international health emergency

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared on Friday that the Ebola outbreak raging in West Africa constitutes an international public health emergency.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared on Friday that the Ebola outbreak raging in West Africa constitutes an international public health emergency.

After two emergency committee tele-conferences convened by the WHO's Director-General Margaret Chan under the International Health Regulations, the committee advised that the Ebola outbreak constitutes an "extraordinary event" and a public health risk to other states.  

The committee warned that the possible consequences of further international spread are particularly serious in view of the virulence of the virus, the intensive community and health facility transmission patterns, and the weak health systems in the currently affected and most at-risk countries.

It urged a coordinated international response to stop and reverse the international spread of the virus.

The largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded began in Guinea in December 2013, and now involves transmission in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. Statistics from the WHO showed that as of Aug. 4, 1,711 cases have been reported, including 932 deaths. The WHO will convene a panel of experts in medical ethics early next week to explore the use of experimental treatment in the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa. 

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