Ebola risk: WHO sounds alarm with £59m emergency response package

Sarah Spickernell
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The initiative will include scaling up control measures (Source: Getty)
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is launching a joint emergency response package with leaders of the African nations that have been hit by the deadly Ebola virus.
Details will be revealed tomorrow at a meeting in Guinea: one of the three countries to have suffered at the hands of the current outbreak, which has claimed over 700 lives across West Africa so far.
The initiative will aim to tackle the epidemic and prevent it from spreading further. It has $100m (£59m) of funding behind it.
Measures will include attempting to stop transmission of the virus by "scaling up effective, evidence-based outbreak control measures", and preventing the spread of the epidemic to neighbouring countries through greater preparation and improved response measures.
The virus kills up to 90 per cent of those infected, but patients have a higher chance of survival if they are treated early. To date, the death rate of this epidemic has been 60 per cent.
The epidemic started in February in Guinea, and it has since spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia. There is currently no known cure for the disease and no vaccine to prevent it.
The president of Sierra Leone, where 233 people have died, has declared a public health emergency. Liberia has closed most of its border crossings and introduced strict health measures.
“New level” of response required
In a statement earlier today, WHO director General Margaret Chan said: "The scale of the Ebola outbreak, and the persistent threat it poses, requires WHO and Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to take the response to a new level, and this will require increased resources, in-country medical expertise, regional preparedness and coordination.
"The countries have identified what they need, and WHO is reaching out to the international community to drive the response plan forward.”
Tomorrow's meeting will be held in Conakry, the capital of Guinea.

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