Overnight developments have led to the W.H.O. declairing Ebola an international risk. First we were told that Ebola posed little risk of making it to the US, and a few days later Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol were flown in who were sick with the infectious disease. They were given a top secret experimental drug called ZMapp, and both patients are recovering now in an Atlanta hospital. Whether or not the antiserum will be sent to West Africa is still unclear at this time.
The W.H.O. director, Margaret Chan, only stopped short of saying that due to the lack of containment and international risk that Ebola poses flights and trading should be banned. Ebola has been ravishing West Africa for more than 6 months now.
She released a statement in a recent press conference from Geneva saying “This is the largest, most severe, most complex outbreak in the nearly four decade history of the disease; I am declaring the current outbreak of the Ebola virus disease a public health emergency of international concern.” She went on to add that, “Countries affected to date simply don’t have the capacity to manage an outbreak on this scale on their own.”
Nancy Kass, a professor of bioethics and public health at Johns Hopkins University says, “I think there are very special commitments that we must make ethically to the health care providers that are willing to go in and serve.”
According to Federal authorities "the drug should not just be given to patients but should be connected with some sort of study to assess its safety and efficacy." And Dr. Fauci said, “You've got to balance the compassionate-use aspect with trying to figure out whether it works.”
With this drug mot having ever been used on humans no one knows what the long term side effects will be or if there will be any at all. Unfortunately, the US has been accused of using West Africans as human guinea pigs before, and this is something that the government also has to take into consideration.
According to the W.H.O.'s head of health security, Dr. Keiji Fukuda, things are going to get worse before they get better. W.H.O. went on to urge states who are in even the beginning grips of this deadly virus to declare states of emergencies and begin screening anyone trying to leave from international airports, land crossings or seaports.
Since March Ebola has claimed more than 930 lives. The main places hit have been Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and now Nigeria who has since reported 9 cases. This doesn't include the people who have hidden in fear while dying from the disease. The total number of cases that have been confirmed is a staggering 1,711 and climbing. At the present moment there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.
W.H.O affiliates say that “A coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola.” This came after a after a 2 day meeting of the W.H.O. emergency committee concerning the Ebola epidemic.
The "worrisome factors in its spread" according to the W.H.O. are “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 “fragile health services backed by few resources” is also taking a toll.
The number of health care workers in these areas contracting the disease is also astonishing. Ebola is still not though to have mutated or be spreading in any way that has not already been announced. It is not airborne, and it is only spread through body fluids including sweat, throw-up, feces etc.
Friday it was thought that Ebola had been detected in Uganda, but the suspicions are unclear. The New York man had an Ebola scare in the US last week has been cleared. Though emergency response teams and containment units are in the appropriate places, the risk of an outbreak in the US and Europe is still being considered very "low".