Ebola ‘an international emergency’: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the spread of Ebola in West Africa an international health emergency.

WHO officials said the possible consequences were “particularly serious” because of the virulence of the virus.

The announcement came after experts convened a two-day emergency meeting in Switzerland, BBC Online.

Handout of a health worker, wearing personal protection gear, offering water to a woman infected with Ebola virus desease at a treatment centre in Kenema Government Hospital in KenemaSo far more than 930 people have died from Ebola in West Africa this year.

The United Nations health agency said the outbreak was an “extraordinary event”.

A health worker, wearing personal protection gear, offers water to a woman with Ebola virus disease (EVD), at a treatment centre for infected persons in Kenema Government Hospital, in Kenema, Eastern Province, Sierra Leone in this August, 2014 handout photo provided by UNICEF August 6, 2014. Workers in the treatment centre are stretched to capacity. UNICEF is supporting the hospital by providing treatment supplies like intravenous fluids and equipment such as protective gear and body bags. As of 4 August, a total of 1,711 cases, including 932 deaths, had been attributed to EVD in the four West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone has borne 691 of these cases (576 confirmed, 49 probable and 66 suspected), including 286 deaths. Photo: Reuters

A health worker, wearing personal protection gear, offers water to a woman with Ebola virus disease (EVD), at a treatment centre for infected persons in Kenema Government Hospital, in Kenema, Eastern Province, Sierra Leone in this August, 2014 handout photo provided by UNICEF August 6, 2014. Photo: Reuters

“A coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola,” it said in a statement.

The outbreak involves transmission in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

The WHO said there would be no general ban on international travel or trade.

However, states should be prepared to detect, investigate and manage Ebola cases, including at airports, it said.

Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage

Fatality rate can reach 90% – but the current outbreak is about 55%

Incubation period is two to 21 days

There is no vaccine or cure

Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery

Fruit bats are considered to be virus’ natural host


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