"The world is ill-prepared to respond to any severe, sustained and threatening public health emergency,"

Chan said at a meeting of the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific in Manila.

Chan explained that the remark does not refer exclusively to the Ebola epidemic that plagues west African nations, but to any other epidemic of the same magnitude and stressed that the current outbreak reinforces this finding.

She recalled that in 2009 the WHO had confirmed during the crisis of pandemic influenza H1N1 that the world is not prepared to offer an adequate response.

"I have never seen a health problem that causes so much fear and terror beyond the affected countries. I've never seen an infectious disease contribute as strongly to the ability of a state to fail", she added.

At least 8,399 people have been infected with the deadly disease, mostly in  Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, of which 4,033 have died.

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