WHO Declares Ebola International Emergency

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency Friday, Aug. 8, for Ebola, the deadly virus spreading mainly in West Africa, making it a third declaration since 2007.

“I am declaring the current outbreak of the Ebola virus disease a public health emergency of international concern,” Dr. Margaret F. C. Chan, the director general of WHO, said in a news conference. “Countries affected to date simply don’t have the capacity to manage an outbreak on this scale on their own.”

According to the New York Times, Doctors Without Borders, a major medical organization which has volunteers in West Africa, said WHO clearly showed its care for Ebola with the declaration, but it said the organization could take a step further.

“Declaring Ebola an international public health emergency shows how seriously W.H.O. is taking the current outbreak; but statements won’t save lives,” Dr. Bart Janssens, the director of operations at Doctors Without Borders, said. “It is clear the epidemic will not be contained without a massive deployment on the ground.”

Sierra Leone Red Cross Spokesman Abubakar Tarawelly agreed more human force could be used on site.

“The number keeps rising,” Tarawelly said, Wall Street Journal reported. “It’s getting too much for our volunteers.”

“Lives are being lost because the response is too slow,” WHO said.

The health organization said “things will get worse for a while,” but it did not think travel or trade bans were necessary.

“We don’t believe a general ban on that kind of travel makes any kind of sense at all,” Dr. Keiji Fukuda, head of health security for the health organization, said

However, it did ask all infected countries, especially Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, to issue an emergency and screen travelers leaving at international airports, piers and land crossing.



Photo Credit:Ahmed Jallanzo/European Pressphoto Agency


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