In Geneva, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) met for two days to discuss the Ebola virus and its outbreak in Western Africa. The emergency committee met to discuss their role and decide whether the outbreak is a “public health emergency of international concern.” This according to Islands Business.
This will be a historic two-day conference as it was the first time the committee ever discussed Ebola. Tarik Jašarevic, a spokesperson for the WHO, told the press that Ebola would be the only topic of discussion throughout the two days. While the outbreak is focused in West Africa, Jašarevic mentioned that the committee wished to decide if the Ebola viral disease is of international concern and if so, how to move forward from there as an organization. Jašarevic also mentioned that it would be unwise to predict what the committee would decide prematurely.
The death toll of the Ebola virus had been over 1,600 as of August 1st. Over 880 of those deaths were in the four most victimized countries where the outbreak is present, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, and Nigeria. At present, these countries were still seeking financial resources from the WHO’s partners as well as other stakeholders.
Ebola, which was previously known as the Ebola hemorrhagic fever, affects humans and gorillas, monkeys, and chimpanzees. The origin of the virus isn’t known but it is thought that it comes from fruit bats. Symptoms of Ebola could range from muscle pain, fever, sore throat, weakness and headache in the onset but can be followed with impaired liver and kidney function, intense vomiting, external or internal bleeding, rash and diarrhea. From the time one is affected with the virus to the time the symptoms take hold can be anywhere from 2 to 21 days, says the WHO. This is the incubation period where victims are not contagious. Once symptoms do take hold, however, victims do become contagious.