Ebola outbreak in West Africa is a health risk to other states: WHO

World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan gives a press conference following a two-day emergency meeting on West Africa's Ebola epidemic in Geneva on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Salvatore Di Nolfi

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday declared the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa a public health emergency. The decision was taken after the first meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations on the disease, according to a statement.

The WHO Secretariat provided an update on and assessment of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria briefed the meeting on recent developments in their countries, including measures taken to implement rapid control strategies, and existing gaps and challenges in the outbreak response. After this the Committee advised that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa constitutes an ‘extraordinary event’ and a public health risk to other states. It said 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.

The disease outbreak began in Guinea in December 2013. It now involves transmission in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. As of August 4, 2014, countries have reported 1 711 cases (1 070 confirmed, 436 probable, 205 suspect), including 932 deaths.

This is currently the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded. A number of unaffected countries have made a range of travel related advice or recommendations. The meeting noted some challenges in dealing with the disease, among them inexperience in dealing with Ebola outbreaks; misperceptions of the disease, including how the disease is transmitted and high mobility of populations and several instances of cross-border movement of travellers with infection.

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Printable version | Jul 23, 2021 4:40:28 AM |

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