UN: Ebola outbreak a public health crisisPublished: 8/9/14 @ 12:00
The World Health Organization urged nations worldwide to donate money and resources to stop the spread of Ebola as it declared the outbreak in West Africa to be an international public- health emergency.
The latest Ebola outbreak is the largest and longest ever recorded for the disease, which has a death rate of about 50 percent and so far has killed at least 961 people, according to the U.N. health agency. It emerged in Guinea in March and has since spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.
“Countries affected to date simply do not have the capacity to manage an outbreak of this size and complexity on their own,” WHO chief Dr. Margaret Chan told a news conference Friday in Geneva. “I urge the international community to provide this support on the most urgent basis possible.”
She added that the world’s “collective health security” depends on curbing the spread of the killer virus in West Africa, even as she acknowledged that many countries would probably not have any Ebola cases.
The Nigerian government declared containing the Ebola virus in Africa’s most-populous country a national emergency Friday, after two Ebola patients died and the health ministry said seven other cases were confirmed. President Goodluck Jonathan approved spending $11.7 million to fight the disease and urged schools to extend a current holiday to give experts more time to assess the Ebola threat.
Since Ebola was first identified in 1976, there have been more than 20 outbreaks in central and eastern Africa; this is the first to affect West Africa.