WHO declares Ebola an international health emergency

(Reuters) – The world’s worst outbreak of Ebola that has killed nearly 1,000 people in West Africa represents an international health emergency and could continue spreading for months, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

Nigeria became the third African nation, after Sierra Leone and Liberia, to declare a national emergency on Friday as the region’s healthcare systems struggle to cope with the advance of one of the deadliest diseases known to man.

“The outbreak is moving faster than we can control it,” WHO Director-General Margaret Chan told reporters on a telephone briefing from her Geneva headquarters.

The U.N. agency said all states where Ebola had passed from one person to another should declare a national emergency. It called the outbreak “particularly serious” but said there should be no general ban on international travel or trade.

“The declaration … will galvanise the attention of leaders of all countries at the top level. It cannot be done by the ministries of health alone,” Chan said.

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