Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Ebola: Health worker infections

Ebola Treatment Centre, Liberia
WHO/M. Seeger

23 May 2015 -- Health workers have borne the brunt of the west african Ebola outbreak, not only working tirelessly to treat the sick but risking their lives every time they went to work. A new WHO report into health worker infections has found that health workers are between 21 and 32 times more likely to be infected with Ebola than people in the general population. It has also shown that such infections can be prevented - health worker infection rates have dropped considerably as measures to prevent infection improved.

Ebola diaries: Lessons in listening

Professor Niang, anthropologist, in Sierra Leone
WHO/C.I. Niang

19 May 2015 -- In July 2014, WHO asked Cheikh Ibrahima Niang, a professor of medical and social anthropology, to investigate community attitudes to Ebola virus disease. He led a team of anthropologists to Sierra Leone just as the outbreak exploded in the eastern part of that country. This is what he found.

Taking action: WHO responds to Ebola in West Africa

WHO's Ebola response - infographic

15 May 2015 -- Since notifying the world of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa on 23 March 2014, WHO has, in partnership with the international health community, mobilized its largest response to the most severe and most complex outbreak in the history of this disease. WHO’s public health expertise, linkages with government and technical networks are unparalleled and resulted in collaboration across multiple UN agencies, mobilization of foreign medical teams, deployment of specialized laboratories, trainings for 1000s of clinicians, delivery of millions of sets of personal protective equipment.

The Ebola outbreak in Liberia is over

Children in Liberia, during the Ebola response in communities.
WHO/C. Banluta

9 May 2015 -- Today, WHO declares Liberia free of Ebola virus transmission. Interruption of transmission is a monumental achievement for a country that reported the highest number of deaths in the largest, longest, and most complex outbreak since Ebola first emerged in 1976. Forty-two days have passed since the last laboratory-confirmed case was buried on 28 March. The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Liberia is over.

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Our vision

An integrated global alert and response system for epidemics and other public health emergencies based on strong national public health systems and capacity and an effective international system for coordinated response.

Core functions

  • Support Member States for the implementation of national capacities for epidemic preparedness and response in the context of the IHR(2005), including laboratory capacities and early warning alert and response systems;
  • Support national and international training programmes for epidemic preparedness and response;
  • Coordinate and support Member States for pandemic and seasonal influenza preparedness and response;
  • Develop standardized approaches for readiness and response to major epidemic-prone diseases (e.g. meningitis, yellow fever, plague);
  • Strengthen biosafety, biosecurity and readiness for outbreaks of dangerous and emerging pathogens outbreaks (e.g. SARS, viral haemorrhagic fevers); Maintain and further develop a global operational platform to support outbreak response and support regional offices in implementation at regional level.

Latest publications

Website for Information and Communication Technologies for Public Health Emergency Management launched

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Global Infection Prevention and Control Network (GIPC Network) Launch

WHO Unit on Disease Control in Humanitarian Emergencies - DCE

Natural ventilation design project website launched

Communicable disease alert and response for mass gatherings