World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Ebola: UN Health Agency to Convene Emergency Meeting

Ebola: UN health agency to convene emergency meeting on deadly disease

A woman waits to enter an Ebola isolation ward to feed her husband, along with Liberian Ministry of Health, WHO, and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) personnel who are treating several Ebola patients located in the capital Monrovia. Photo: UNMIL/Staton Winter

5 August 2014 – The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that it will convene a two-day meeting of its emergency committee starting tomorrow to determine whether the current Ebola viral disease outbreak in West Africa is a public health emergency of international concern.

WHO spokesperson Tarik Jašarevic told a press briefing at the United Nations Office in Geneva today that the sole subject of the meeting of experts would be the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. It was the first time the emergency committee would discuss Ebola.

“The idea is that the WHO Director-General is seeking an opinion of the emergency committee on whether the current outbreak represented a public health emergency of international concern,” Jašarevic said.

“If it does”, the spokesman said in response to a question, “then the committee would recommend to the Director-General of WHO to declare it a public health emergency of international concern and recommend appropriate temporary measures to reduce international spread” of the virus.

“We can’t speculate in advance what the committee members are going to decide in advance,” he said.

The agency is scheduled to hold a press conference with Dr. Keiji Fukuda, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Security at 9 a.m. Geneva time on Friday, 8 August, on the outcome of the meeting of the emergency committee, which might finish its work quite late at night on 7 August, the spokesman said.

As of 1 August, the number of Ebola cases stands at 1,603, including 887 deaths, in four countries; those countries are Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Human and financial resource mobilization continues to be sought from WHO’s partners, UN agencies, and other stakeholders.

The Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak Response Plan in West Africa launched on August 1 in Guinea is estimated at $100 million, with a funding gap of around $71 million to date.

According to WHO, Ebola, formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, affects humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). The origin of the virus is unknown, but fruit bats are considered the likely host.

Sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat are typical signs and symptoms. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.

WHO says the incubation period, or the time interval from infection to onset of symptoms, is from 2 to 21 days. The patients become contagious once they begin to show symptoms. They are not contagious during the incubation period.

According to the WHO website devoted to this topic, the responsibility of determining whether an event is within this category “public health emergencies of international concern” (PHEIC) lies with the WHO Director-General and requires the convening of a committee of experts – the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee.

This committee advises the WHO Director-General on the recommended measures to be promulgated on an emergency basis, known as temporary recommendations, it said.

Temporary recommendations include health measures to be implemented by the State Party experiencing the public health emergency, or by other States Parties, to prevent or reduce the international spread of disease and avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic, according to WHO.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Werewolf: America, The Gated

How, in a global metropolis like New York, do you write about immigration as a problem to be solved? And yet immigration is a hot button issue among those fighting to break away from the unruly clump of starters in the race for Republican nominee. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: US Bomb Strikes Hospital In Kunduz

According to US military sources, “there may have been collateral damage” to the medical facility. “This incident is under investigation.” A statement issued by the office of the President Ashraf Ghani said that Army General John Campbell, chief of US-led forces in Afghanistan, apologised. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: The Fall Of Tony Abbott

The question was one of timing. The Coalition had been registering losses in poll after poll. The Abbott style hardly improved after a spill was forced on the party. Despite claiming that he would be ushering in a spring clean, he continued bypassing ministers and MPs... More>>



Pacific.Scoop: Smaller Pacific States Call For Coal Moratorium

PNG Loop: Leaders of the Pacific Smaller Island States have called on all nations – especially the advanced economies in the region – to rise to the challenge of climate change. They want to steer the world on a path where climate change is no longer a threat to earth. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news