Ebola spread an ‘emergency’
LONDON—The World Health Organization today declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be an international public health emergency that requires an extraordinary response to stop its spread.
It is the largest and longest outbreak ever recorded of Ebola, which has a death rate of about 50 percent and so far has killed at least 932 people.
The WHO chief, Dr. Margaret Chan, said the announcement is “a clear call for international solidarity,” although she acknowledged many countries probably would not have any Ebola cases.
“Countries affected to date simply do not have the capacity to manage an outbreak of this size and complexity on their own,” Chan said at a news conference in Geneva.
“I urge the international community to provide this support on the most urgent basis possible.”
The agency had convened an expert committee this week to assess the severity of the continuing epidemic.
The current outbreak of Ebola began in Guinea in March and has since spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia, with a suspected cluster in Nigeria.
There is no licensed treatment or vaccine for Ebola.
The impact of the WHO declaration is unclear; the declaration about polio doesn’t yet seem to have slowed the spread of virus.