WHO declares Ebola outbreak an international emergency
Monday, August 11, 2014
The current ongoing outbreak of Ebola is the deadliest since the disease was first reported in humans 40 years ago, with nearly 1,000 people reported to have been killed by the disease in this outbreak. So far three countries, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria, have declared national emergencies in response to the outbreak, with cases also reported in Guinea. The latter country was reported to have closed its borders with Sierra Leone and Liberia, but an official announcement later clarified they were taking medical precautions on border crossings.
Director-General of WHO Drappealed for an international response to the outbreak, calling it "the largest, most severe and most complex outbreak in the nearly four-decade history of this disease". Reports say the comparatively underdeveloped medical infrastructure in the affected countries has hampered efforts to contain the spread of the virus, with Liberia's health system particularly under-equipped for the pressure. (MSF) said the health system in Liberia was "falling apart". Health experts and aid workers from Europe and America are already working to help bring the outbreak under control, but MSF and WHO are now calling for more help.
WHO vaccine chief Jean-Marie Okwo Bele toldhe expected a possible vaccine against Ebola to start clinical trials next month, stating: "Since this is an emergency, we can put emergency procedures in place [...] so that we can have a vaccine available by 2015". WHO assistant director-general Marie-Paule Kieny admitted, however, to do so the bar set during the testing process would have to be lower, reflecting questions about the ethics of using comparatively untested drugs, and who they should be given to.
Meanwhile, restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the disease are reported to be causing problems among those affected in already impoverished areas. Liberia and Sierra Leone are both reported to have deployed soldiers to limit travel within these countries, with many residents reported to be worried about the effect on their trade and incomes.reported from interviews, there is also resistance to some measures in Liberia, where there is a strong stigma attached to the disease. This has led to many people refusing to report the deaths of family members and hand their bodies over for cremation. There have also been cases of violence towards those seeking to enforce government measures to limit the disease's spread.
- "Ebola virus: Liberia health system 'overtaxed'" — , August 10, 2014
- Colin Freeman. "Meet the world's bravest undertakers - Liberia's Ebola burial squad" — , August 10, 2014
- Kate Kelland. "WHO declares Ebola an international health emergency" — , August 9, 2014
- Ebola vaccine won't be ready until 2015, says WHO" — , August 9, 2014. "
- Thomas Moore. "Ebola: The Point Behind WHO's Declaration" — , August 8, 2014
- Hannah Strange. "WHO declares Ebola 'international health emergency' as death toll nears 1000" — , August 8, 2014