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The World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency Friday over the Ebola outbreak in western Africa that has killed almost 1,000 people. It said the outbreak of the deadly virus is “extraordinary event” and a public health risk to other countries. In a statement after a meeting of top officials from affected countries, the organization said the possible consequences of further international spread are particularly serious in view of the virulence of the virus. An elderly missionary became the first Ebola patient to arrive in Europe for treatment early Thursday after Spain’s government flew him back from Liberia.

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