As Ebola Spread Outpaces Control Effort, WHO Plans $100 Million Response

The unprecendented outbreak has killed more than 700 people, including more than 40 health workers.

Posted: 08/01/2014 01:00 PM EDT
As Ebola Spread Outpaces Control Effort, WHO Plans $100M Response

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is moving faster than efforts to control it, according to the head of the World Health Organization. About 1,323 confirmed and suspected cases have been reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since March 2014.

Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of WHO, met with the presidents of those West African nations on Friday in the Guinean capita,l Conakry, to finalize a $100 million plan to combat the spread of the virus that has claimed more than 700 lives.

Among the victims are more than 40 health workers, and several American and other international relief workers have been infected. An unidentified, infected U.S. aid worker was recently flown in for treatment at a high-security ward at Emory University Hospital.

Chan reportedly said that if the unprecedented outbreak continues to worsen, the resulting lives lost and socioeconomic disruption could be “catastrophic.”

“Right now, it is gradually becoming a living hell,” Rodney Sieh, a newspaper editor in Liberia, told BET.com.

“Restaurants, for example, are losing business because people are afraid to eat out now,” Sieh said. “No one is really buying much, except for essentials, Clorox and sanitizers. Other preventive agents against Ebola are flying off the shelves of supermarkets and stores.”

With no vaccine or cure, the Ebola virus spreads by contact with infected bodily fluids, blood, organs or contaminated environments. Victims first display flu-like symptoms that can lead to bleeding from areas like the eyes and gums, as well as internal bleeding and, possibly, organ failure.

Patients who receive early treatment have a better chance of survival. Still, Ebola kills up to 90 percent of those infected.

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(Photo: Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images)

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