Ebola Threat Waning But Epidemic Remains International Health Emergency, WHO Says

News outlets report on the WHO’s fifth meeting of its Emergency Committee on the Ebola epidemic.

Agence France-Presse: ‘Progress’ in Ebola fight, but ‘substantial risks’ remain: WHO
“Real progress is being made in the fight against Ebola, but the deadly outbreak in West Africa remains a major international health emergency, the World Health Organization said Friday…” (4/10).

Associated Press: U.N.: Ebola still global emergency despite big drop in cases
“…Last August, the U.N. health agency declared the epidemic of the lethal virus to be a global emergency after the deaths of nearly 1,000 people, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia…” (Cheng, 4/10).

CIDRAP News: As global Ebola threat ebbs, WHO extends health emergency
“…In a related development, the health official leading the WHO’s Ebola response said today at a media briefing that signs of recent progress by all three outbreak countries appear to be real and that each is on track with goals to curb disease activity ahead of the rainy season, which begins over the next several weeks…” (Schnirring, 4/10).

Reuters: Risk of Ebola spreading to other countries appears to be falling: WHO
“…In a statement, the Committee said that due to better prevention and control activities across West Africa, ‘the overall risk of international spread appears to have further reduced since January with a decline in case incidence and geographic distribution in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.’ But there was ‘no place for complacency’ and the goal remained eliminating the deadly hemorrhagic fever…” (Nebehay, 4/10).

U.N. News Centre: Ebola outbreak still a global emergency despite significant drop in cases — U.N. health agency
“…The rapid interruption of transmission remained the primary goal of the Committee, which expressed continued concern over recent health care worker infections and reaffirmed the importance of rigorously applying appropriate prevention and control measures…” (4/10).

Xinhua News: Ebola still a global public health emergency: WHO
“…The committee concluded that the outbreak, which claimed over 10,000 lives and infected more than 25,000 cases, … recommended that all previous temporary recommendations be extended. Additional health measures, such as quarantine of returning travelers, refusal of entry, cancellation of flights, and border closures, significantly interfere with international travel and transport and negatively impact both the response and recovery efforts, the committee added” (4/11).