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WHO Declares Ebola Outbreak an International Health Emergency

Fri, 08 Aug 2014 17:56:30 +0000

iStock/Thinkstock(MONROVIA, Liberia) -- The World Health Organization has declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a "public health emergency of international concern" and is calling for aid to those areas directly affected.

The WHO said in a statement on Thursday, "a coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola."

The virus has a 60% mortality rate and has killed at least 932 people, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

Karli Johns, a photographer from Wisconsin, has returned to the United States after spending a month working in Liberia. Johns says even though she never came into contact with anyone who had Ebola, some of her friends and family are still afraid to be near her.

"People would message me on Facebook and say, 'hey I just want to make sure you're okay. Did you come in contact with anybody who had this disease? Is there any risk we can get it?'" Johns said.

In Atlanta, doctors at Emory University Hospital are continuing to treat two health care workers, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who contracted the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia. ABC's Steve Osunsami reports that Writebol's husband says he's optimistic about her recovery.

In Monrovia, Liberia, six college students from Tuskegee University in Alabama are stranded because of the outbreak, as British Airways suspended flights to the U.S. out of the country. The students plan to fly through Ghana on August 17.

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