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WHO Declares Ebola An International Health Emergency; Stops Short Of Recommending General Travel Ban

News outlets report on the WHO’s declaration of Ebola as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

Agence France-Presse: WHO declares Ebola epidemic a global health emergency
“The World Health Organization on Friday declared the killer Ebola epidemic ravaging parts of west Africa an international health emergency and appealed for global aid to help afflicted countries. The decision came after a rare, two-day closed-door session of the U.N. health body’s emergency committee, which urged exit screening of all people flying out of affected countries, where nearly 1,000 people have died…” (Larson, 8/8).

Associated Press: WHO: Ebola outbreak is a public health emergency
“The World Health Organization on Friday declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be an international public health emergency that requires an extraordinary response to stop its spread…” (Cheng, 8/8).

Financial Times: World Health Organization declares Ebola international emergency
“The World Health Organization has declared the largest Ebola outbreak on record an international emergency but did not recommend a general ban on travel to or trade with affected countries. The statement follows a two-day teleconference of the body’s emergency committee, including the representatives of the west African states of Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the deadly haemorrhagic fever has infected at least 1,779 people and killed 961…” (Wilson/Cookson, 8/8).

New York Times: W.H.O. Declares Ebola in West Africa a Health Emergency
“Facing the worst known outbreak of the Ebola virus, with almost 1,000 fatalities in West Africa, the World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency on Friday, demanding an ‘extraordinary’ response — only the third such declaration of its kind since regulations permitting such alarms were adopted in 2007. The organization stopped short of saying there should be general international travel or trade bans, but acknowledged that the outbreak, already in its sixth month, was far from being contained…” (Cowell, 8/8).

Reuters: WHO declares Ebola epidemic an international health emergency
“West Africa’s Ebola epidemic is an ‘extraordinary event’ and now constitutes an international health risk, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. The Geneva-based U.N. health agency said the possible consequences of a further international spread of the outbreak, which has killed almost 1,000 people in four West African countries, were ‘particularly serious’ in view of the virulence of the virus…” (Kelland, 8/8).

SciDev.Net: WHO declares Ebola an international health emergency
“The director-general of the WHO has proclaimed the Ebola outbreak in West Africa as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, triggering an urgent international step-up in the response to the crisis, which it now sees as a serious threat to other countries, too. The ‘extraordinary’ situation presents a public health risk to other nations, with ‘serious’ potential consequences if it continues to spread, the first meeting on Ebola of the WHO’s Emergency Committee reported today. The director-general accepted its assessment…” (Tatalović, 8/8).

Science Magazine: WHO declares escalating Ebola outbreak an international emergency
“With cases rapidly mounting in four West African countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) today declared the Ebola outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), a designation that allows the agency to issue recommendations for travel restrictions but also sends a strong message that more resources need to be mobilized to bring the viral disease under control…” (Enserink, 8/8).

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