The Ebola Outbreak Is Now an 'International Public Health Emergency'

The World Health Organisation has declared the Ebola outbreak an international public health emergency—though it is currently not recommending bans on travel or trade.

The international organization points out that the outbreak—the longest and largest in recorded history—is affecting countries whose health systems are "fragile with significant deficits in human, financial and material resources." That, combined with high mobility of populations, inexperience in dealing with Ebola outbreaks and misperceptions of the disease—including how the disease is transmitted—have created a "compromised ability to mount an adequate Ebola outbreak control response" according to the WHO.

Margaret Chan, the WHO's director general, has called on the international community to help:

"Countries affected to date simply do not have the capacity to manage an outbreak of this size and complexity on their own. I urge the international community to provide this support on the most urgent basis possible."

With 1,711 confirmed and suspected cases, and 932 deaths, the WHO now says that the the outbreak is "an 'extraordinary event' and a public health risk to other States." [WHO]