WHO Declares "Health Emergency", Admits "Stretched To Limit" On "Out Of Control" Ebola Outbreak As Nigeria Cases Soar

CDC Director Frieden's worst nightmare is coming true - Nigeria, of which he was "deeply concerned" due to the population density in Lagos for instance, has admitted 139 patients are now being monitored for Ebola (up from 8 mere days ago). This, along with "the outbreak moving faster than we can control it," drive the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare West Africa's Ebola epidemic, an "extraordinary event" and now constitutes an international health risk. As Reuters reports, the agency said that, all states with Ebola transmission - so far Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone - should declare a national emergency, as former WHO official warned "governments appear to not have been engaged as necessary."

 

Nigeria has escalated rapidly - just as CDC Director Frieden had feared:

  • *NIGERIA SAYS TWO MORE CASES OF EBOLA CONFIRMED IN LAGOS
  • *NIGERIA SAYS 6 SUSPECTED CASES OF EBOLA BEING INVESTIGATED
  • *NIGERIA SAYS 139 PEOPLE BEING MONITORED FOR EBOLA

As Reuters reports,

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.

 

"A coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola," the WHO said in a statement after a two-day meeting of its emergency committee on Ebola.

 

The declaration of an international emergency will have the effect of raising the level of vigilance on the virus.

 

"The outbreak is moving faster than we can control it," the WHO's director-general Margaret Chan told reporters on a telephone briefing from the WHO's Geneva headquarters.

 

"The declaration ... will galvanize the attention of leaders of all countries at the top level. It cannot be done by the ministries of health alone."

Contagion is still not wel lunderstood...

It also said inexperience in dealing with Ebola outbreaks and misperceptions of the disease, including how it is transmitted, "continue to be a major challenge in some communities".

 

"If we do not in global solidarity come together to help these countries, they will be set back for many years," Chan said. She noted the three hardest-hit nations had only begun to emerge and rebuild after "years of conflict and difficulties".

What is fascinating is that WHO does not ask for international trade or travel bans

  • *WHO: NO GENERAL BAN ON TRAVEL OR TRADE
  • *WHO: SHOULDN'T BE INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL OF EBOLA CASES, CONTACTS

because:

  • *WHO'S CHAN: STOPPING AIRLINE ROUTES WOULD HURT ECONOMIES

Which is a somewhat stunning reason and not shared by Russia:

If flights from the countries affected by the Ebola virus are not halted, the disease could reach Europe and become a new plague, Alexei Pushkov, the head of the State Duma international affairs committee, said Tuesday.

 

“Unless all flights are stopped from Ebola affected countries, there is a risk it will reach Europe, becoming the plague of the 21st century,” Pushkov said on Twitter.

*  *  *
Additional WHO headlines:

  • *WHO PANEL UNANIMOUS ON RISK OF FURTHER INTERNATIONAL SPREAD
  • *WHO PANEL UNANIMOUS ON OUTBREAK'S SERIOUS, UNUSUAL NATURE: CHAN
  • *WHO: PANEL RECOMMENDS EXIT SCREENING FOR COUNTRIES WITH EBOLA
  • *WHO: OVERALL EBOLA MORTALITY FROM 55-60%
  • *WHO'S CHAN: `WE ARE EXTREMELY STRETCHED'
  • *WHO: UNAPPROVED EBOLA DRUGS HAVE POTENTIAL; ARE IN SMALL SUPPLY
  • *WHO: ALSO DEALING WITH MERS-COV OUTBREAK, FLU
  • *WHO'S FUKUDA: PREPARED TO DEAL WITH EBOLA FOR `SOME MONTHS'


And finally:

  • *WHO'S FUKUDA: EBOLA LIKELY TO GET WORSE BEFORE IT GETS BETTER