WHO Press Releases

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This channel provides the five most recent WHO news articles.
Updated: 59 min 14 sec ago

WHO calls for stronger action on climate-related health risks

27. August 2014 - 3:00
Previously unrecognized health benefits could be realized from fast action to reduce climate change and its consequences. For example, changes in energy and transport policies could save millions of lives annually from diseases caused by high levels of air pollution. The right energy and transport policies could also reduce the burden of disease associated with physical inactivity and traffic injury.

Measures to adapt to climate change could also save lives around the world by ensuring that communities are better prepared to deal with the impact of heat, extreme weather, infectious disease and food insecurity.
Categories: Fora

Unprecedented number of medical staff infected with Ebola

24. August 2014 - 19:27
The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in west Africa is unprecedented in many ways, including the high proportion of doctors, nurses, and other health care workers who have been infected.

To date, more than 240 health care workers have developed the disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, and more than 120 have died.
Categories: Fora

WHO-deployed health worker receiving care after testing positive for Ebola

24. August 2014 - 6:01


WHO is working to ensure an international health worker who is deployed for the Organization in Sierra Leone and has contracted Ebola receives the best care possible including the option of medical evacuation to another care facility if necessary.
Categories: Fora

Why the Ebola outbreak has been underestimated

21. August 2014 - 19:27
The magnitude of the Ebola outbreak, especially in Liberia and Sierra Leone, has been underestimated for a number of reasons.

Many families hide infected loved ones in their homes. As Ebola has no cure, some believe infected loved ones will be more comfortable dying at home.
Categories: Fora

Anecdotal evidence about experimental Ebola therapies

20. August 2014 - 19:27
Clinicians working in Liberia have informed WHO that 2 doctors and 1 nurse have now received the experimental Ebola therapy, ZMapp.

The nurse and one of the doctors show a marked improvement. The condition of the second doctor is serious but has improved somewhat.
Categories: Fora

Ebola situation in Nigeria and Guinea: encouraging signs

18. August 2014 - 19:27
The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in west Africa continues to evolve, with cases confirmed in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. At present, no cases have been confirmed anywhere else in the world outside these 4 countries.

The situation in Lagos, Nigeria, where the first imported case was detected in July, looks reassuring. At present, the city’s 12 confirmed cases are all part of a single chain of transmission. Those infected by the initial case include medical staff involved in his treatment, a patient in the same hospital, and a protocol officer in very close contact with the patient.
Categories: Fora

Statement on travel and transport in relation to Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak

18. August 2014 - 4:01
The current Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak is believed to have begun in Guinea in December 2013. This outbreak now involves community transmission in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and recently an ill traveller from Liberia infected a small number of people in Nigeria with whom he had direct contact.

On 8 August 2014, WHO declared the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) in accordance with the International Health Regulations (2005).
Categories: Fora

World Humanitarian Day: WHO calls for protection of health workers in conflicts, disasters

18. August 2014 - 3:00
As major emergencies around the globe increase in scale, complexity and frequency, WHO is calling for an end to the targeting of health workers in conflicts and other humanitarian crises, which represent a breach of the fundamental right to health.

On tomorrow’s World Humanitarian Day, celebrated every 19 August, WHO will draw attention to the continued trend of attacks on health-care workers, hospitals, clinics and ambulances in Syria, Gaza, Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan and other areas.
Categories: Fora

Ebola: Experimental therapies and rumoured remedies

14. August 2014 - 19:27
The scale, duration, and lethality of the Ebola outbreak have generated a high level of public fear and anxiety, which extends well beyond west Africa. Such reactions are understandable, given the high fatality rate and the absence of a vaccine or cure.

Recent intense media coverage of experimental medicines and vaccines is creating some unrealistic expectations, especially in an emotional climate of intense fear. The public needs to understand that these medical products are under investigation. They have not yet been tested in humans and are not approved by regulatory authorities, beyond use for compassionate care.
Categories: Fora

No early end to the Ebola outbreak

14. August 2014 - 14:27
The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa continues to escalate, with 1975 cases and 1069 deaths reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

No new cases have been detected in Nigeria following the importation of a case in an air traveller last month. Extensive contact tracing and monitoring, implemented with support from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has kept the number of additional cases small.
Categories: Fora

WHO: Air travel is low-risk for Ebola transmission

14. August 2014 - 6:00
The World Health Organization (WHO) today reiterated its position that the risk of transmission of Ebola virus disease during air travel remains low.

“Unlike infections such as influenza or tuberculosis, Ebola is not airborne,” says Dr Isabelle Nuttall, Director of WHO Global Capacity Alert and Response. “It can only be transmitted by direct contact with the body fluids of a person who is sick with the disease.”
Categories: Fora

Ethical considerations for use of unregistered interventions for Ebola virus disease (EVD)

12. August 2014 - 4:01
West Africa is experiencing the largest, most severe and most complex outbreak of Ebola virus disease in history. Ebola outbreaks can be contained using available interventions like early detection and isolation, contact tracing and monitoring, and adherence to rigorous procedures of infection control. However, a specific treatment or vaccine would be a potent asset to counter the virus.

Over the past decade, research efforts have been invested into developing drugs and vaccines for Ebola virus disease. Some of these have shown promising results in the laboratory, but they have not yet been evaluated for safety and efficacy in human beings. The large number of people affected by the 2014 west Africa outbreak, and the high case-fatality rate, have prompted calls to use investigational medical interventions to try to save the lives of patients and to curb the epidemic.
Categories: Fora

Barriers to rapid containment of the Ebola outbreak

8. August 2014 - 14:27
The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in west Africa continues to evolve in alarming ways, with no immediate end in sight. Many barriers stand in the way of rapid containment.

The most severely affected countries, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, have only recently returned to political stability following years of civil war and conflict, which left health systems largely destroyed or severely disabled.
Categories: Fora

WHO Statement on the Meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee Regarding the 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

8. August 2014 - 2:18
The first meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) [IHR (2005)] regarding the 2014 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD, or “Ebola”) outbreak in West Africa was held by teleconference on Wednesday, 6 August 2014 from 13:00 to 17:30 and on Thursday, 7 August 2014 from 13:00 to 18:30 Geneva time (CET).

Members and advisors of the Emergency Committee met by teleconference on both days of the meeting1. The following IHR (2005) States Parties participated in the informational session of the meeting on Wednesday, 6 August 2014: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.
Categories: Fora

WHO to convene ethical review of experimental treatment for Ebola

6. August 2014 - 6:01
Early next week, WHO will convene a panel of medical ethicists to explore the use of experimental treatment in the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Currently there is no registered medicine or vaccine against the virus, but there are several experimental options under development.

The recent treatment of two health workers from Samaritan’s Purse with experimental medicine has raised questions about whether medicine that has never been tested and shown to be safe in people should be used in the outbreak and, given the extremely limited amount of medicine available, if it is used, who should receive it.
Categories: Fora

WHO statement on the second meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee concerning the international spread of wild poliovirus

3. August 2014 - 12:01
On 5 May 2014 the Director-General declared the international spread of wild poliovirus in 2014 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) under the International Health Regulations [IHR 2005], issued Temporary Recommendations to reduce the international spread of wild poliovirus, and requested a reassessment of this situation by the Emergency Committee in 3 months. The 2nd meeting of the Emergency Committee was held by teleconference on Thursday 31 July 2014 from 13:00 to 17:15 Geneva time (CET) 1.

The affected States Parties that met the criteria for ‘States currently exporting wild poliovirus’ participated in the informational session of the meeting and were as follows: Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Pakistan and the Syrian Arab Republic.
Categories: Fora

WHO Director-General, west African presidents to launch intensified Ebola outbreak response plan

31. July 2014 - 3:00
The Director-General of WHO and presidents of west African nations impacted by the Ebola virus disease outbreak will meet Friday in Guinea to launch a new joint US$ 100 million response plan as part of an intensified international, regional and national campaign to bring the outbreak under control.

“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,” says Dr Chan. “The countries have identified what they need, and WHO is reaching out to the international community to drive the response plan forward.”
Categories: Fora

WHO appalled by attacks on health-care facilities in Gaza

28. July 2014 - 6:01
WHO has been appalled by the continuing trend for health-care facilities, staff and vehicles to come under direct fire in Gaza since the escalation of violence on 8 July 2014.

Sustained calm is needed so thousands of injured people can receive urgently needed health care. It is vital for health facilities and staff to be able to perform their life-saving work without fear of attack.
Categories: Fora

WHO welcomes global momentum on viral hepatitis

23. July 2014 - 3:00
On World Hepatitis Day, 28 July, WHO welcomes new progress in tackling one of the world’s most serious diseases. Viral hepatitis – a group of infectious diseases known as hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E – affects millions of people worldwide, causing acute and chronic liver disease and killing close to 1.4 million people every year.

“For years, viral hepatitis has been largely neglected,” says Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General at WHO. “But now we are beginning to see greater awareness and global momentum building to tackle it.”
Categories: Fora

WHO Statement on Mr Glenn Thomas, WHO Media Officer who died in the MH17 plane

18. July 2014 - 6:01
It is with deep sadness that we have to inform you that WHO lost one of our colleagues on the Malaysian Airlines crash yesterday. Glenn Thomas from the Department of Communications was travelling to the International AIDS Conference in Australia. His twin sister says he died doing what he loved.

Glenn had been with WHO for more than a decade. He came here from the BBC and spent many years providing communications support to the TB Department. Since 2012 he had been working on the media team in the Department of Communications, regularly hosting press conferences and working with journalists to promote the work of WHO. Glenn will be remembered for his ready laugh and his passion for public health.
Categories: Fora