Friday, August 8, 2014

Ebola outbreak in west Africa is now a global emergency: WHO

After a two-day closed-door session The World Health Organisation on Friday  declared the killer Ebola epidemic ravaging parts of West Africa an international health emergency and appealed for global aid to help afflicted countries.
The first meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) regarding the 2014 Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in West Africa was held by teleconference on 6-7 August 2014. The Director-General accepted the Committee’s assessment and on 8 August 2014 declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

WHO director-general Dr Margaret Chan appealed for greater help for the countries hit by the “largest, most severe and most complex outbreak in the nearly four-decade history of this disease”  “I am declaring the current outbreak a public health emergency of international concern,” Chan said, stressing the “serious and unusual nature of the outbreak”

The emergency committee urged exit screening of all people flying out of affected countries, where nearly 1,000 people have died.The WHO stopped short of calling for global travel restrictions, urging airlines to take strict precautions but to continue flying to the area. And it called on countries and airports around the globe to be prepared to “detect, investigate and manage” Ebola cases if they should arise.
Ebola has claimed at least 932 lives and infected more than 1,700 people since breaking out in Guinea earlier this year, according to the WHO.