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WHO Secretary warns of further Ebola outbreaks
The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa was the largest, most severe, and most complex in the history of this disease. The Secretary General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Margaret Chan, now warns of further outbreaks of the deadly disease.
The WHO responded too slowly and too long to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa to realize that the first Ebola outbreak in West Africa would behave very differently from the previous 17 outbreaks that have occurred in Equatorial Africa since 1976 WHO Secretary General self-critical. The unprecedented length and scope of the epidemic raised many critical questions. With international support, the outbreak was successfully contained in the end, but new Ebola epidemics are at risk, the WHO Secretary General warned.
WHO responded too late to the Ebola epidemic
"In Guinea, where the outbreak began at the end of 2013, the virus had been circulating undetected and undeterred for three months," reports Dr. Chan from the recent Ebola epidemic. By the time the pathogen was identified in March 2014, the virus had already reached hospitals in crowded urban areas, according to the WHO Secretary General. This was followed by spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia, where health systems collapsed in just over a month, especially after the virus reached the capitals. Only when the number of infections and deaths exploded dramatically did the WHO react with the necessary determination and with massive international support, the epidemic was successfully contained. The outbreak recorded more than 28,000 infections and over 10,000 deaths.
There will always be surprises
Constant mutation and adaptation are important survival mechanisms of the virus and there will always be surprises, emphasizes the Secretary General of the WHO. The outbreaks of Ebola, Zika and Co also show how the changing lifestyle of people on this planet also opens up new opportunities for the microbial world to spread. This means that another Ebola outbreak will not be prevented in the future. Although the world is better prepared today, it is far from good enough, according to the WHO Secretary General.
"Weak public health systems (particularly those related to the early detection of unusual pathogens), the concentration of most health resources in cities and the reduction of mosquito control programs make the world vulnerable to the next microbial surprise," Dr. Chan. (fp)