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WHO declares Ebola epidemic an int'l health emergency

CCTV.com

08-08-2014 17:41 BJT

Full coverage: Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

The World Health Organization has declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa an international public health emergency, requiring an extraordinary response to stop its spread. The Director General of the UN health agency, Dr. Margaret Chan, called the outbreak the largest, most severe and most complex in the nearly 40-year history of the disease. Doctor Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Security, explained what makes this outbreak different.

"One reason is that we are dealing a very large number of cases and death. Secondly these cases are widely distributed...community transmission, this is what different...an important underlying factor," Doctor Keiji Fukuda said.

The WHO chief urged the international community to provide support for containment operations in the affected countries, as these countries don’t have the capacity to manage the outbreak on their own.

Early this week, the agency convened an expert committee to assess the severity of the ongoing epidemic, and the experts recommended appropriate temporary measures to reduce international spread of the virus. The deadly outbreak of Ebola this year was first seen in Guinea and has spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. The epidemic has infected more than 1, 700 people and killed 932 since March.


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