The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa an international health emergency.

More than 932 people have died of Ebola in West Africa this year, and WHO officials say that a coordinated international response is essential to bring the outbreak under control.

In a statement, the WHO said:

“The possible consequences of further international spread are particularly serious in view of the virulence of the virus, the intensive community and health facility transmission patterns, and the weak health systems in the currently affected and most at-risk countries.”

The current outbreak began in in Guinea in December 2013 and has since spread to Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, with 1,711 cases reported in what WHO director-general Dr Margaret Chan described as the “most complex outbreak in the four decades of this disease”.

The WHO recommended against any trade or travel bans to affected states, but said that those countries should declare the outbreak a national emergency and mobilise an emergency response and engage with affected communities.

Meanwhile, the two US citizens repatriated after contracting the disease have has “positive results” from being given an experimental treatment known as ZMapp, which is a serum mixture of three humanized monoclonal antibodies for immunological protection. There are currently no plans to share the very limited stocks of the experimental serum with affected African countries.


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