WHO declares Ebola epidemic a ‘global threat’

Wednesday, September 3, 2014
By Paul Martin

By Elise Viebeck

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) called Ebola a “global threat” and warned that it can only be stopped by a significant international response.

Margaret Chan, the director general of WHO, did not mince words in describing the growing epidemic in West Africa on Wednesday.

“This Ebola epidemic is the largest, most severe and most complex that we have ever seen,” Chan said.

“It has become a global threat that requires urgent action. … This is an international issue, a global threat, and it requires a coordinated effort.”

According to WHO, it will cost at least $600 million to contain the outbreak.

Chan’s comments come as the United Nations remains under fire for its response to Ebola, which has killed at least 1,900 people in West Africa since March.

In an op-ed this week, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim called the containment effort “disastrously inadequate” and said it is causing “needless” deaths.

U.N. officials have confirmed at least 3,500 cases of Ebola virus disease in the three countries where it is concentrated — Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia — and that number is rising daily. The disease has an overall fatality rate of 51 percent.

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