Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Israel-Palestinian territories: Can there be an end to the historic conflict?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#IKEAgate?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Undiplomatic Language

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Palestinian territories: can there be an end to the historic conflict? (part 2)

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Zambian President Michael Sata dies aged 77

Read more

FOCUS

Lebanon: Syrian civil war spillover heightens tensions in Tripoli

Read more

ENCORE!

Art show: From Frank Gehry's glass sails to Paul McCarthy's sex toys

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

US midterms: The battle for Colorado

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Dominique Strauss-Kahn reacts to suicide of his business partner

Read more

Africa

WHO declares Ebola epidemic an international emergency

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-08-08

The World Health Organization on Friday declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be an international public health emergency that requires an extraordinary response to stop its spread.

The WHO announced the Ebola outbreak -- the largest and longest in history -- is worrying enough to merit being declared an international health emergency. WHO declared similar emergencies for the swine flu pandemic in 2009 and for polio in May.

The WHO chief, Dr. Margaret Chan, said the announcement is “a clear call for international solidarity” but acknowledged that many countries would probably 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. “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 ongoing epidemic.

The current outbreak of Ebola began in Guinea in March and has since spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia. There is no licensed treatment or vaccine for Ebola and the death rate has been about 50 percent.

The impact of the WHO declaration is unclear; a similar announcement made about polio doesn’t yet seem to have slowed the spread of virus. During a WHO meeting last week to reconsider the status of polio, experts noted countries hadn’t yet fully applied the recommendations made in May, there have been more instances of international spread and that outbreaks have worsened in Pakistan and Cameroon.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have already elevated its Ebola response to the highest level and it has recommended against traveling to West Africa. On Thursday, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden told a Congressional hearing that the current outbreak is set to sicken more people than all previous outbreaks of the disease combined.

“I don’t know what the advantage is of declaring an international emergency,” said Dr. David Heymann, who directed WHO’s response to the SARS outbreak and is now a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

“This could bring in more foreign aid but we don’t know that yet,” he said.

(AP)

Date created : 2014-08-08

  • HEALTH - LIBERIA

    Liberians choose self-medication in Ebola fight

    Read more

  • LIBERIA

    Liberia declares state of emergency as Ebola toll rises

    Read more

  • LIBERIA

    Spanish missionary repatriated after contracting Ebola

    Read more

COMMENT(S)