By early June of last year, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa was the deadliest ever recorded. There weren’t enough beds for patients and many were refusing to seek treatment, driving the outbreak underground.

Senior staffers in Africa at the World Health Organization raised the prospect of declaring an international emergency. The answer from WHO’s Geneva headquarters: Wait.

According to internal emails and documents obtained by The Associated Press, the U.N. health agency resisted sounding the international alarm until August, a two-month delay that some argue may have cost lives. More than 10,000 are believed to have been killed by the virus since WHO announced the outbreak a year ago.

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