On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the spread of the Ebola virus an international health emergency, according to the BBC.
After holding an emergency two-day meeting in Switzerland on Wednesday and Thursday, the WHO said, “The possible consequences of further international spread are particularly serious in view of the virulence of the virus.” The statement comes on the heels of more than 960 deaths from the Ebola in West Africa so far this year, with the virus most-recently spreading in to Nigeria.
With the WHO calling the Ebola outbreak an “extraordinary event,” Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan asked for help for Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, the countries who share the unfortunate commonality of being hit with the virus. Chan added, “[This is] the most complex outbreak in the four decades of this disease.”
When more than 60 people died in Guinea back in March, officials initially thought victims were dying of a viral hemorrhagic fever. By the end of March, though, it became clear that the 66 deaths were indeed due to the Ebola virus.
Almost instantaneously, the virus then showed up in Liberia, with two cases being confirmed by early July…and the rest is history.
And while the Ebola virus first emerged back in the ’70s, this is the first time the virus has emerged and spread throughout West Africa.
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