WHO Officially Declares Ebola Outbreak a Global Health Emergency
The Ebola outbreak, which has mainly affected three West African countries, is now considered a global health emergency, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO announced that the outbreak cannot be properly contained due to the affected nations' lack of resources. The organization is calling for an extraordinary response to help prevent the outbreak from worsening.
"Countries affected to date simply do not have the capacity to manage an outbreak of this size and complexity on their own. I urge the international community to provide this support on the most urgent basis possible," head of the WHO, Margaret Chan, stated during a news conference in Geneva reported by the Los Angeles Times.
The outbreak, which stared in March, has infected more than 1,700 people and has killed around 900. The cases have mainly been concentrated in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. According to WHO, from Aug. 2 to Aug 4., there were 108 new cases with 45 fatalities in the three nations and Nigeria. The currently fatality rate is at around 50 percent. Even though there is not viral therapy or vaccine for Ebola, the infection can be treated especially if detected early on.
"Experiences in Africa over nearly four decades tell us clearly that, when well-managed, an Ebola outbreak can be stopped," Chan said.
WHO added, "States should be prepared to facilitate the evacuation and repatriation of nationals [e.g., health workers] who have been exposed to Ebola."
So far, the United States have safely evacuated two infected Americans, who are currently being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, GA. Spain has also repatriated 75-year-old priest, Miguel Pajares, who was working in Liberia.
Chan had met with the presidents from the affected nations last week. Together, they launched a $100 million response plan to control the disease.