With more than 3000 deaths since the first case was confirmed in March, 2014, the international community has recognised Ebola as a public health emergency of international concern and a clear threat to global health security. It is the subject of a high-level UN Security Council resolution, and has triggered the creation of a UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response.

The International Health Regulations (IHR) represent the system designed to prevent national public health emergencies from becoming international crises. WHO’s historic responsibility has been to control the spread of disease. The IHR were adopted in 1969 (IHR 1969). In 1995, in the wake of plague in India and Ebola in DR Congo, a resolution was passed in the World Health Assembly (WHA) to revise and update the IHR.